Week 9: Aid Sourcing, Sachs n’ Moyo

Once again, examining another section of “The End of Poverty”, Sachs discusses the role of the ‘rich’ in international aid. Further, he is describing wealthy nations and not a single billionaire investor or humanitarian. It is clear by GDP that there are countries with vast amounts of wealth. The estimates set by the World Bank say that the poor can be provided with all basic needs for $1.08 per day per person. This amounts to about 124 billion dollars. This amount is well within the goals already set by the world community of 0.7 percent of GDP. However, a stipend of that size will only serve to feed the costs of consumption in areas of extreme poverty. Thus, they accomplished a few calculations which identify how much of the total cost of ending extreme poverty will be passed on the international donors (close to 60%).

The result of this analysis is one facet. The next step is to identify how to account for this percentage of aid. Sachs suggests that the cost be passed on to the wealthiest nations (USA, Japan, Germany, France, and today – China). While it may seem to some that it is passing on the costs of an effort in another country, Sachs has already made his case. The cost to these nations would be relatively minimal compared to the vast amount of capital hat flows through their economies normally. They are also among the nations capable of holding the countries which would be benefiting accountable.

Copyright Pew Research Center - http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/07/18/chapter-4-global-balance-of-power/
Copyright Pew Research Center – http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/07/18/chapter-4-global-balance-of-power/

In my opinion, it is not a perfect solution. Targeting countries which simply have the means to pay for this venture is a selective process. However, I believe that the benefits of establishing nations with healthy populations and growing economies benefits the developed nations as well – obviously to a point where there are too many developed nations – but we are many years from experiencing such a time. The World Bank has stated that extreme poverty has fallen to 17 percent in the world, supporting Sachs’ claims.

Further, Sachs discusses the myths surrounding aid money, specifically in Africa. Conventional wisdom, Sachs states, is that Africa is a drain which will inevitably swallow more money. Curing human disease will lead to population growth, which will lead to further demand for food assistance; and Africa’s lack of transparent government as well as shortcomings in their educational system will hamper any aid effort.

I agree with his characterization of these myths, in that I believe that they exist and are blown out of proportion. The resulting increases from aid are not the current concern. Shrugging our shoulders and dooming these people to their fates is simply not a view worth considering. Investing in countries and raising them up should not be considered a budget line, a series of pluses and minuses. Put simply, the reasons to ignore these myths are fundamentally more imperative than those which state the opposite. Though we should examine our information carefully beforehand.

Finally, Dambisa Moyo talks about China’s role in Africa. While it is clear that they have invested billions of dollars in Africa and established fruitful relationships with any of the nations, Moyo does have criticism to offer. The Chinese appear more business-like than humanitarian in their efforts. They align themselves with countries which can serve their interests a great deal (investing 3 billion dollars to achieve 45% of Nigeria’s oil fields), (Moyo). But it is there nonchalance with regards to human rights violations which commands Moyo’s attention. It has long been the practice of the Chinese government to persecute Christians and other religious groups as well as negotiate with disreputable regimes. However, the public perception of Chinese influence within Africa is generally positive, even more so than that of the United States.


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