Aid the poor, now

Trade and aid have been a consistent demand of the developing countries for long. But the global monetary approach of loans, and that too with conditionalities attached, has literally crippled avenues of development and prosperity.

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Published: Sun 26 Sep 2010, 9:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:53 PM

This is why US President Barack Obama’s gesture of revamping his country’s foreign aid policy with the thrust of concentrating more and more on aid rather than loans is most welcome. Washington, as the world’s largest lender, can lead from the front with Japan and the European Union following suit for rewriting a new policy of ushering in development, which is not tailor-made elsewhere and is adaptable to the needs and necessities of the recipient country.

In an era mired with recessionary trends and where economies across the world are struggling to stay afloat, the realisation on the part of the developed world to inject money as a catalyst is quite encouraging. The United Nations, that is seized with the objective of seeing that its Millennium Development Goals are realised by the year 2015, can do a better job by furthering the proposal mooted by President Obama, while addressing the General Assembly of the world body. It is, in fact, the pestering debt burden and non-developmental expenditure that is hampering developing nations from making strides — keeping them engrossed in the abyss of poverty and reactionary politics.

One of the most appropriate approaches could be, and it has been voiced for umpteenth times, is to just write off the entire bad debt of the Third World countries, and provide them with an opportunity to start afresh. This would not be asking for heavens in the wake of man-made disaster that has come to be known as the Wall Street fiasco. If greed and nepotism of the few can swindle trillions of dollars from public exchequer, and go scot-free as well, by bringing the world economy on its knees, then what ails the donors from bolstering fragile and dejected economies of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean by taking decisions that may pronounce a clan chit for them in terms of liabilities and dependence.

Disease, hunger and soaring inflation are issues that need a global remedy. If the wheel of economic growth has to be kept turning, aid, transfer of technology and a considerate roadmap for sustainable development are inevitable. They cannot be delayed any further. The Millennium Development Goals that include improving health care, increasing access to education and promoting equal rights for women, if implemented religiously, can go a long way in changing the socio-economic outlook of countries reeling under poverty and bad governance.

The erstwhile policy of protectionism whereby a free flow of men, material, expertise and technology was hampered for the developing countries needs to be done away with. If contentious issues such as terrorism and marginalisation of societies on the benchmarks of race and religion are to be addressed, then there is no better way to embrace them with aid and assistance of the plenty in the West.

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