Monday, September 12, 2005

UN report criticizes US international aid levels

Celia Dugger reports in the New York Times, here, via Limeyphish, on the new UN Human Development Report 2005, which criticizes the US for being second to last in official development aid (ODA) as a percentage of national income (although it is first in absolute amount of ODA).

The New York Times story - like the report itself - fails to make note of the difference between ODA and total aid flows from all sources, including NGO assistance, etc. As the US has noted in many official statements of policy, ODA as a specific percentage of GDP bears no logical relationship to what is actually needed to reduce severe poverty in the world and what mechanisms actually matter in achieving sustainable economic growth. ODA has proven to be a dismally bad predictor of that. What matters is improvement in governance in poor nations themselves - something that is not captured in any sense by ODA.

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