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Monday, 03 May 2010

21st Century Aid: Recognizing success and tackling failure

Aid plays a role in saving millions of lives, and yet despite its achievements poverty continues to cast a shadow over the lives of some 1.4 billion people worldwide. This has opened up questions over the effectiveness of aid and lately, unleashed a barrage of criticism, with critics using individual examples of failed aid to argue that all aid is bad and should be reduced or phased out altogether. This is both incorrect and irresponsible. Aid that does not work to alleviate poverty and inequality – aid that is driven by geopolitical interests, which is too often squandered on expensive consultants or which spawns parallel government structures accountable to donors and not citizens – is unlikely to succeed. This report examines the evidence, and finds that while there is much room for improvement, good quality 21st century aid not only saves lives, but is indispensable in unlocking poor countries’ and people’s ability to work their own way out of poverty. Aid alone – even 21st century aid – is not enough to ensure that all people living in poverty can lead full and decent lives. But together with the right systemic reforms, aid can and will extricate millions of people from poverty and deprivation.

Source: Oxfam