January 1st, 2013


A new approach to development aid

For many decades, humanitarian and development aid has been viewed in a very superficial way. Until ten years ago, when a young French researcher named Esther Duflo started a thorough investigation of the problem. She was idealist, tenacious, but also kind of discouraged at first. Because after 40 years of intensive development aid, and more than 3 billion dollars poured into the system, there was still no clear mechanism deploying the right amounts of money to the right places, as the right time, and for the right reasons. And neither did anyone have any idea if aid had any tangible long-term effect whatsoever.


In a historic report in 2010, Duflo drew two curves. One showed the amount of aid given to Africa for the last few decades. Undoubtedly, it was steadily climbing. The other one showed the GDP per capita of the continent. And today it remains similar to its 70s levels. How is that possible?

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