Is aid to developing countries hitting the spot?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.6997.72 (Published 08 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:72
  1. Paul Garner
  1. Head International Health Division, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA

    We need better ways of evaluating the effects of aid programmes

    Scenes of warfare in sub-Saharan Africa remind us of the impact of conflict on human life, but this is but one part of the “silent emergency” of poverty in developing countries. A report released by Oxfam last month reminds us that today one in four of the world's people live in a state of absolute want, unable to meet their basic needs. It calls for concerted action to eradicate poverty and establish new structures for human security.1

    If sending Western aid to developing countries to alleviate poverty seems an exemplary response then the fall in the total sum allotted from $61bn in 1992 to $56bn in 1993 must be cause for concern.2 Although such figures are politically useful in lobbying for more, The Reality of Aid, published last month by non-government organisations, raises some more fundamental questions: Is aid …

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