Monday, May 02, 2005

Nothing Can Save a Country That's Misruled

by Dr LF Lacey
South Strand
Co Dublin

The main problem, according to the Britain's Africa Commission, is bad governance bad institutions, maladministration and corruption. This is firstly the responsibility of developing countries to put right, and developed countries should support their efforts.

Without improved governance, extra debt relief, more and better aid and improvements in the trade regime will not have much impact on poverty. Band Aid was established primarily to raise money for victims of the famine in Ethiopia at the time.

Mr Finlay asks what happened after Band Aid 20 years ago? Ethiopia and Eritrea engaged in a brutal war between 1998 and 2000 in which as many as 100,000 people were killed, up to one million people were driven into exile or internal displacement, and hundreds of millions of euro were diverted from development into arms procurement.

I put it to Mr Finlay that no amount of debt relief, aid or trade will save any country that is misruled by a "deranged despot" and/or "pillaging kleptocrats".

At the end of the day, the fates of developing countries lie in the hands of their leaders.

Those who seek to improve governance should be helped, with the expectation that aid and trade will alleviate poverty in these countries.

Those who stick with bad governance should only receive humanitarian aid because, sadly, any other forms of aid will not have lasting beneficial impact, as the last 20 years have shown.

Irish Examiner.com

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