Bill Gates on the truth about foreign aid
Al Kinley Editorial assistant for Oxfam's digital communications, Abby Mason Communications Planning and Data Manager
27th Jan 2012
The New York Times has an interesting piece by Bill Gates today, about Oxfam and Save the Children's report "A Dangerous Delay", on the cost of late responses to early warnings in the 2011 East Africa drought.
The very fact that $2.1 billion has been donated to help the victims of the famine is a testament to human beings' generosity. But that fact of our generosity also explains why I am so frustrated by the increasing opposition in many rich countries to foreign aid.
And he cites some powerful statistics to argue the importance of aid:
In the past 50 years, the number of children who die every year has gone down from 20 million to fewer than 8 million. Meanwhile, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half. These massive improvements are due in large part to aid-funded programs to buy vaccines and boost farmers' productivity.
What do you think about aid? As Bill puts it, "we know people care about the suffering of others … So what keeps them from supporting government investments to alleviate extreme suffering?"