Thursday, 4 June 2009

Help the poor help themselves

The west must do more to make it easier for migrants to send money back to the families they have left behind

By Pär Stenbäck

One early result of today's global recession is that many donor governments are trimming their foreign aid programs. Before taking office, the US president, Barack Obama, had promised a doubling of American foreign assistance, from $25bn to $50bn (£15.5bn to £31bn), but since then the vice-president, Joe Biden, has warned that this commitment will probably be achieved more slowly because of the downturn.

Here in Finland, our aid decreased by 62% in the early 1990's, a period that Finns still call "the depression". Japan's overseas aid declined by 44% when that country hit hard times. The current worldwide slump could bring a cut in official development assistance (ODA) of 30%. Read more here

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