Governments don’t make poverty history

When someone suggests that more money should be given to governments of third world countries to help them ‘make poverty history’ remember this article in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph:

Five months after the tsunami struck, killing 40,000 and leaving 500,000 homeless in Sri Lanka, more than 100,000 of the poorest victims are still living in tents or crude temporary shelters.
Despite almost unlimited resources – the relief fund stands at more than £1.75 billion for Sri Lanka alone – victims are cooped up in camps waiting for news of progress that never seems to come.
Aid agencies keen to press on with rebuilding are being frustrated at every turn by the tangled and all-embracing bureaucracy of the central government. Shipping containers remain stuck at ports, vital building plans await approval and incompetent officials ignore the advice of specialists.
This week, as the first monsoon rains arrived, agencies were striving to move thousands of people out of their tents and into solid shelters before camp sites turned into quagmires.
After months during which the situation has deteriorated and no one has spoken out for fear of upsetting the highly sensitive government, the World Bank finally broke cover this week.

Gordon Brown and others appear to think that government to government aid is the answer. In fact, as this story illustrates, governments in most impoverished countries are the problem, not the solution.
Full article here.

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