REFERENCE IS made to Junior Sabena Mutabazi’s article, “Let us focus on business not aid”, (The New Times, February 20).
The role of the private sector in driving economic growth can’t be overstated. However, like many development theorists and aid critics, the writer falls into the trap of viewing the myriad of complex development challenges in low-income countries as solvable by single solutions, i.e. focus on the private sector and alas! Poverty in Africa will be checked.
The argument that aid has been a failure has lost appeal and credibility in light of recent evidence. The scale-up of aid (ODA) particularly after the millennium declaration has seen remarkable results in health outcomes (malaria, HIV/Aids) and share of sub-Saharan poverty line halved from around 40% to 2o% (see World Bank report).
Aid is not meant to be a permanent thing, but rather provides the much-needed resources to enable poor countries invest in the infrastructure, health, education and related programmes that trigger growth and well-being and enable a low-income country make the initial steps to eventually “graduate” to self-sustenance.
With more focused and optimal utilisation of aid, Africa is now on the path to take off.
Richard, United States