Monday, April 18, 2005

Aid Wars

Three stories today highlight how to do aid right, how to do it wrong, and how Paul Wolfowitz is already doing good.

Doing Aid Right

The WSJ today headlines:

New Bush Strategy on Aid Faces Test
Madagascar's hunt for U.S. aid shows both the opportunities and hurdles of Bush's Millennium Challenge Account program designed to channel money only to poor countries with worthy governments.

This is a smart program - the story (subscription required) explains that there's $110 Million on offer, but the Madagascar regime first has to show that it won't be eaten up by corruption. Madagascar is a good choice - it's rated Partly Free and about as corrupt as Turkey and Armenia (to be fair, this is pretty corrupt).

Doing Aid Wrong

Tony Blair has a better idea - forgive the debts of, and double the aid to, all the Sub-Saharan Africans. Unfortunately, of the 46 countries in this region only 8 are rated Free. The others are varying degrees of Fear State, like Zimbabwe, Liberia and Somalia. So Tony's aid will just feed tyrants. Actually, not Tony's aid, he wants the US to pick up the tab. Strangely, the US is resisting this cunning plan.

Go Wolfy Go!

The G24 group of aid recipients is threatening to take their overdrafts elsewhere.

Emerging nations moving away from IMF, World Bank

If developing nations are not given more say in global financial institutions, they will leave the fold of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, a top Group of 24 official said on Friday.

Finance chiefs from the Group of 24 emerging nations also complained the United States did not consult them on the choice of Paul Wolfowitz as new World Bank president.

Just 8 of these whiners are Free States - the rest are Fear States, including Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran.

The words, Take, A and Hike come to mind.