Sunday 20 Jan 2019 | 02:17 | SYDNEY
Sunday 20 Jan 2019 | 02:17 | SYDNEY

Aid & development links: 'Aid sceptic' wins Nobel, cash for the poor, Dutch cuts and more



19 October 2015 15:00

  • The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Angus Deaton, best known for bringing empirical rigour to the study of how individuals spend, save, and invest, and how those choices are connected to poverty, has prompted discussion of his views on aid. Deaton has been described as an aid sceptic, but a closer look at his work shows him to be a critic of certain forms of foreign aid, particularly if they impact on political accountability in developing countries.  See  The Economist and Foreign Policy  for why few were surprised by Deaton's award.
  • A piece from Foreign Affairs lays out recent research (also covered in the Financial Times) on the efficacy of providing cash grants to the poor. According to the authors, 'cash grants are cheaper to administer and effective at giving recipients what they want, rather than what experts think they need'.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has been making major foreign aid pledges over the last few weeks. While this has been welcomed abroad, the Brookings Institution reveals it has drawn a much frostier response at home. 
  • A new report from the World Bank states the share of global population that is working age peaked at 66% and is now on the decline, while the share of elderly is anticipated to double to 16% by 2050. Such dramatic demographic shifts will have 'far-reaching implications for migration, poverty and development'.
  • Australia's new Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Steven Ciobo, delivered the opening address at the Australian Council for International Development's Annual Conference (where ACFID celebrated its 50th birthday), highlighting the need for more innovation in Australia's aid program.
  • Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek also addressed the conference, making no significant commitments to reversing the Coalition cuts to Australia's aid program.
  • Finally, Australia is not alone in slashing its aid budget. The Dutch are following suit with an impending $1 billion euro cut.  Overall, however, global aid levels remain stable.

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