Matt Pringle

Matt Pringle

Thursday, 03 October 2013 14:44

Aid - Where Does it Go?

Overseas Development Aid (ODA) is centered on Africa but, depending on what you consider to be aid, it is spent all over the world including some quite surprising places. If you include military assistance for example (most measured of aid do not, other than for peace keeping purposes) then Israel receives more aid from the US than the whole of Africa.

What about more traditional aid? UK aid spending is concentrated on Africa and countries in and around the Indian subcontinent, although parliament has recently signaled its intention to phase out aid to India over the coming years. The above image from the Guardian gives much more detail and is hard to beat. Click on the image above to enlarge it or go to their UK Aid Data Page to see the whole article and others.

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 18:25

Aid - What is Going Wrong?

Since about 1970, more than $2 trillion of aid have been given world wide, much of it from western countries to Africa and yet the proportion of African's living in poverty has risen six fold. Something isn't working. The question is what.

Aid is a complicated topic. Are we considering long term economic aid? Is this different to emergency, disaster relief aid? Who are we doing it for? Should we be doing it at all?

Some recent reading. news headlines and discussions on aid have set me off thinking about the various issues surrounding it and it occurred to be that a mini series on aid might be a good way to kick off this blog. The intention is not so much to give answers, although I hope there will be some, but more to provoke thought through a series of posts over the next few days or weeks. Do feel free to use the comments on at the bottom to add your thoughts (you will need to create a free account before you can post).

Friday, 04 October 2013 00:00

Aid - Why do we Give Aid?

 It is an important question. Godfery Bloom, the former UKIP MEP tried to raise debate on this issue rather in-eloquently but sadly his use of the generic description of unworthy aid recipients as 'Bongo Bongo Land' rather distracted from discussion he was seeking to have (at least that is the charitable view of his media gaff).

 The usual answer most people give if they are asked why we should give aid is that we have a moral duty to help people less fortunate than ourselves, a colleague of mine described it as the international version of buying the Big Issue. An informal survey during a class discussion  showed all bar 2 of the 30 or so there agreed with that way of thinking.

Some take a more self interested approach. Some will argue that the reason to give aid is one of self-interest. This may happen directly through 'tied aid'. The provision of aid may be directly linked to favorable trade deals for firms from the donor nation but it need not be so blatant. Aid may be given purely to improve infrastructure in areas that companies from the donor country operate or to build a customer base for future exports.

There is an alternative, however. Africa has globally important stocks of raw materials - precious metals, oil and gems yet the countries that have grown rich from exploiting these tend to be western countries. Could it just be possible that the reason Africa is poor is because we are rich. Aid spending may be developed nations giving generously or it could be wealthy nations trying to assuage their guilt.

The history of European and North American involvement in Africa is one of interference, slavery, colonialism and exploitation. Could it be that guilt, or even worse, further self gain through tied aid is the reason for the current focus on aid flows?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 00:00

Politics

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Monday, 26 August 2013 19:08

Philosophy

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Saturday, 22 June 2013 17:39

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