The poverty of nations
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CTA. 1995. The poverty of nations. Spore 55. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49573
The poverty of nations: the aid dilemma at the heart of Africa by James Morton 1994 265pp price UKL 35.00 ISBN 135043 617 7 British Academic Press, 45 Bloomsbury Square London WC1A 2HY, UK
Despite three decades of external assistance, Africa is no better off now than it was at independence. Socially, economically and politically many nations have made little or no progress. Concentrating on the Sudan, James Morton examines what has gone wrong and why aid has so often been ineffective and even counter-productive. He argues that it is incorrect to pin the blame simply on incompetent decision-making by donors or recipients, on environmental and climatic conditions, or on civil strife. Instead, it should be recognized that the success or failure of any aid programme is essentially related to aspects of political economy, and that attention to factors like sovereignty and accountability is as crucial as rigorous scientific and technical evaluation. Moreover, considerable periods of time and study in an area are a prerequisite for any achievement. Morton's argument implies that unless these factors are taken into account, even the most democratic grassroots approach to development will fail. Morton's solutions are radical and spring from an intimate knowledge of the problems of giving aid to rural communities. He considers such measures as the ending of all except emergency aid to allow unimpeded economic development and in some cases the direct transfer of funds to recipients. Above all, aid and development are regarded as an enabling process: to help rural communities to do what they often understand better than the international aid community. His analysis is based on his long experience as a development economist in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The poverty of nations: the aid dilemma at the heart of Africa by James Morton 1994 265pp price UKL 35.00 ISBN 135043 617 7 British Academic Press, 45 Bloomsbury Square London WC1A 2HY, UK
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