Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jeff Sachs on aid

I almost didn't read this column because Sachs often sounds like a broken record. But it turned out to be great.

Hosting this year’s G-8 summit reportedly cost Canada a fortune, despite the absence of any significant results. The estimated cost . . . reportedly came to more than $1 billion. This is essentially the same amount that the G-8 leaders pledged to give each year to the world’s poorest countries to support maternal and child health.

If only more economists had that kind of passion.

Of all of the G-8’s promises . . . the most important was made to the world’s poorest people at the 2005 G-8 Gleneagles Summit . . . The G-8 promised that, by this year, it would increase annual development assistance to the world’s poor by $50 billion relative to 2004. Half of the increase, or $25 billion per year, would go to Africa.

The G-8 fell far short of this goal, especially with respect to Africa. Total aid went up by around $40 billion rather than $50 billion, and aid to Africa rose by $10-$15 billion per year rather than $25 billion.

He can't say this, but look at those numbers. Aid to Africa increased by $10-15 billion. Millions of bed nets were distributed, measles vaccines injected, Rwanda has universal health insurance, and treatment for HIV is up 10,000% over the decade.

Would that have happened without the concerts, columns, and citizenship?

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