Writing intermittently on life, politics, and society

The new bottom billion

Caught a good discussion over at the Guardian last week on this thought provoking paper by Andy Sumner of the Institute of Development Studies.

Sumner presents data that points to a shift in the distribution of the world’s poor as the states in which they live have transformed from low to middle-income countries.

This shift -and fact that some of these countries have substantial resources at hand- points to a need for a rethink of aid strategies. As Jonathan Glennie writes:

… if Sumner is right (which he is), that means fundamentally changing the way we give aid and encourage poverty reduction. It is one thing transferring money to very poor countries – there is a logical argument for filling a savings gap, although one that I have criticised. But to transfer cash to countries like China and India that not only have nuclear power and space programmes, but also have their own multi-billion dollar aid programmes, is quite another. Aid money is irrelevant to them – should the traditional donors therefore just leave them to it?

The paper, and the whole discussion at the Guardian Data Blog, are well worth reading. Do check them out.


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