Rethinking “American Answer”

Amanda Kay McVety

in Enlightened Aid

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796915
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933266 | DOI:
Rethinking “American Answer”

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The 1984-1985 Ethiopian famine raised troubling questions about the effectiveness of foreign aid and helped to spark two decades of new international aid policies. Despite new policies and a devastating AIDS epidemic, the number of people living in poverty in Africa continued to increase. The world’s wealthiest countries began the twenty-first century promising to end poverty through more and better aid, but a growing number of voices argued that aid was the problem, not the solution. Academics, politicians, and even rock stars are now engaged in a heated battle over aid’s future. Ethiopia’s troubled history supports claims that bilateral aid often hinders more than it helps. It would be better for the world’s leading donor countries to alter their trade policies and practices, but that kind of change is difficult. It is easier to send money than to convince domestic constituencies to think differently about trade. Until that change happens, however, it seems likely that Ethiopia and its neighbours will continue to be plagued by poverty and hunger—the very things that Truman promised to cure back in 1949.

Keywords: green revolution; millennium development goals; USAID; mmillennium challenge corporation

Chapter.  11651 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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