The most effective aid programs support leaders in developing countries as they take action to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. But too often certain kinds of US foreign aid are slow, bureaucratic, politically-driven, and implemented from the top down. And as a result, US aid is not building local systems that tap into the existing capacity and potential of developing countries to solve their own challenges. With citizens and governments in the driver’s seat, development finance can be effectively deployed to strengthen local systems and end the injustice of poverty.
Aid is not the solution to poverty, people are.
Fabio Lavelanet is the co-founder and CEO of Fabrar Rice, Inc., a new 24-employee start-up that buys rice from local growers, parboils it, and mills it for sale on the local market. This is no ordinary development in Liberia, where two civil wars and Ebola have crippled progress and left its subsistence farmers among the poorest in the world.Meet Fabio
In September 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals—an ambitious new agenda to eliminate poverty by 2030 and tackle key challenges around inequality, hunger, and climate change. But what is the role of public development finance (aid) in a post-2015 world? Achieving the SDGs requires the international community to adopt a new vision for aid. In this vision, aid enables countries to be owners of the development process and supports the citizen-state compact by actively breaking down barriers to participation, decision-making and accountability. More aid, as well as more effective aid, can support people to fight inequality and become active citizens, while also supporting effective and accountable governments to plot their own path to achieving the SDGs.
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As the largest bilateral aid donor in the world, the US could have a lasting legacy on the global fight against poverty. But we need to take the opportunity and responsibility seriously, and dedicate enough funds to make a difference–especially during the pandemic.
NADEL’s programs in Guinea-Bissau help poor people win the fight for survival—and take on the struggle for true democracy.
Whether training local farmers to increase their crop production or helping people rebuild after a natural disaster, most Americans would agree that the aim of US foreign assistance should be to help people help themselves.