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The Forum > Article Comments > Finding new ways to give aid > Comments

Finding new ways to give aid : Comments

By James Cumes, published 15/9/2005

James Cumes reviews aid agencies and the ongoing cycle of giving aid to third world countries.

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A very comnmendable article, as far as it goes.
The attitudes and actions advocated are commendable and in desperate need of implementation. They have been, for decades; indeed for a generation or two. But, on their own, they are equivalent to commencing to bail out the bathroom before turning off the running tap that caused the bath to overflow.
The situation will remain heart-rendingly hopeless, even with the best of efforts, unless all nations (including the attending Vatican) fulfil the obligations they signed up to at the Cairo conference in 1994. It is an irrational act for this article to censor out of discussion the relevance of the Cairo conference to the underlying problem: That of women in developing countries being subjucated to the religious/social dictates of others; women who, like it or not, whether they can nurture them or not, are bringing into the world an average of about 6 children in most of the most distressed nations of less-developed Africa.
If only the article had asked to give those women a chance; and consequently give the suggested programs a chance.
Posted by colinsett, Thursday, 15 September 2005 9:57:56 AM
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I can only agree with colinsett. Any discussion of aid which does not address the population problem is simply pissing in the wind. It looks to me as if the four horsemen of the apocalypse are saddling up ready for a ride around the third world.
Posted by plerdsus, Thursday, 15 September 2005 11:06:48 AM
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More than anything, this topic on Aid, I see it as a matter of ATTITUDE.

We need money, and we need people, to take the SEOUL Declaration; "Good Governance and Transparency" is a GROUND LEVEL issue, be it here, or anywhere else in the world.

Conformity does not work!

I believe "conformity" is the heart of the crime - without reprisal, "conformity" is the most pressing issue of all humankind.

Development must be "socially just".

eg: One small lie follows another and before we know it, the lie itself accommodates the "comfort zone" of many - who fail to think about anothers oppression, because they support the denial of one little lie.

I see so many grants in Australia and overseas wasted because of the knowledge gap (understanding) between “rich and poor”.

See the World Bank references and links of the "Poverty - aid, trade and corruption" - by Sweeney and Elton – -
(posted Wednesday, 31 August 2005 article in this forum).

Also see the thoughts of Charles Abugre in his “Economic Partnership Agreements and putting development first” -
which are also part of the links in this article.

Charles Abugre said; “Aid-directed governance, leads to reverse accountability where governments account to donors rather than to their own citizens”.

I believe this “enforced, imposition and mis-placed” loyality is a phenomenon, working at all levels of todays society, everywhere.

At home it starts in the way we aid mis-placed loyalty to our family and friends (when in fact they maybe doing the wrong thing) ... do we turn a blind eye?

The way we badly treat/bully whistle-blowers, for speaking-up on policy and justice.

In a world where dysfunctional relationships, simply thrive, it makes it very hard to do the right thing.

I believe all of us want to HELP THE STARVING, and the POOR. But that this is the dilemma. The UN and other bodies can not tackle these issues – unless we the peoples – endorse true justice – through our individual and collective accountabilities.

Linking you to the news of the World Summit –
Posted by miacat, Thursday, 15 September 2005 1:23:12 PM
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It is essentially very important to get aid through for emergency relief no matter what, and that in the long term, aid assistance must be based on building productive capacity, based on recipients resolving problems for themselves.

I found testing the economic case between the Tiger and Africa difficult, but viable.

Given conflict and corruption is perhaps understood to be a central cause hindering economic progress, in Africa for example, through this argument, it is then reasonable to reflect on how after WW2, when the human desire was focused in finding global stability, within the developed nations, became a more creative developmental process, through the opportunity of UN cooperation, and agreements, at that time.

As mentioned, the regional political problem of inequality and non-peace, is as it was before WW2, and is idealogically in many ways, as it is now. That world markets are unequally distributed, and aid resources are all to often “squandered to the advantage of foreigners, speculators and a diversified group of political opportunists and warlords”. This carries undue strain on peoples living in under-developed regions, in all parts of the world.

I think the mixed market business approach as a economic strategy, is correct. I also agree on fixed capital investment and that serious debt reduction, for struggling nations, must occur immediately.

Now that I have read the Victory without Want material, I ask what has happened to this inspiration?

I agree we need directive policies similar to 1945 – 1970 however, is it not true, that Australia’s own innovative growth in strategic areas of public policy was holted sharpy after 1977, the eve of the first recession, since WW2?

I believe we have nations, parties, and individuals, the knowledge, a sum of good world nation policies, but no real governance, in mainstream markets, our institutions or at civic level, in developed societies, be they communist or democratic.

Many people have turned their backs on the problem of equity. Until we re-claim the will, we may never show courage to implement wellbeing, as a right to maintain self-determination, as a value for all human life.
Posted by miacat, Thursday, 15 September 2005 7:17:22 PM
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One of the key limits to development in African nations is the ridiculous level of taxation in those nations. And if taxation is not bad enough many of the nations also have inflation imposed on them by loose monetary policy. Both these problems can be fixed simply by a change of government policy. All it takes is political insight and political will.

In Ethiopia a farmer that earns more than US$$4235 pays a tax rate of 89%. There is no scope for a farmer to accumulate a surplus or reinvest in his/her enterprise. Not only is there little scope there is little incentive. In Ethiopia if you grow more food than the government deems fair then you have to give it to the central planners for redistribution.

And in Niger you don't need to be a farmer to get hit hard with taxes. If you earn more than US$600 per annum then your marginal income tax rate is 52%. On top of that they have a 17% VAT which in April in the midst of famine the government had the audacity to increase to 19% (sparking riots).

Producers need incentives. They also need to be able to keep a fair proportion of any surplus they produce so that they can reinvest.

The reason that Africa can not create its own capital, or attract foreign capital is because it is over taxed. The idea that their starvation is caused by bad weather is a most unhelpful myth.

The IMF does not help much on the policy front. When it takes over running the economy its cure is usually two fold:-

a) Currency devaluation (ie more inflation).
b) Austerity (ie more taxation).

If Australian farmers were taxed at 89% once their income exceeded US$4235 then we would also periodically face starvation. If Australians in general payed 19% VAT plus 52% income tax once their income exceeded US$600 per annum then we would also be stuck in sever and persistent poverty.
Posted by Terje, Thursday, 15 September 2005 10:04:35 PM
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Terje, your summary of the situation in Africa is felt with utter seriousness.

It does feel so heartless and hopeless.

I am one of the billions of people - world wide - who hoped the debt, the taxes and at least some of the market issues within Africa, and Asia could be more properly addressed.

While I credit the UK, US and Japan for their strong words, and contribution toward poverty, on this last day of this 2005 Summit, it is again not enough, far too late.

Why couldn't these countries play harder, in the open, with the issue of COUNTRIES, much much sooner.

Why is the UE, so dammed hard to deal with?

Why can the world leaders not come together with a new kind of Marshal Plan?

Why can't these leaders themselves engage with Multi-National Groups, and reflect the need for them to also take responsiblity?

We (as nations throughout the world) have the knowledge, but where is the will to act?

What has to happen now?

Is it real to believe that Clinton - may follow this question through?

I hope people like James Cume, respond, and talk to those of us who - just - don't understand.
Posted by miacat, Friday, 16 September 2005 6:19:20 PM
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