Development gaps

The figures you give for the dramatic fall in support for economic infrastructure and agriculture as part of total bilateral ODA between 1995/96 to 2002/2003 are sobering (No. 261, May 2007). There is increased emphasis on these two areas by development agencies, but it will be important to see if resource commitments actually follow–particularly for aid and investments in agriculture. But didn’t NEPAD members at Maputo commit to invest 10% of GDP in agriculture, not to increase investments by 10%?
I agree with the emphasis on linking growth, poverty and inequality. Inequality is still something we are often not addressing head-on and trickle down approaches are still prevalent in many agencies. You are right that pro-poor and pro-growth approaches are mutually reinforcing and should go hand in hand and that both “absolute” and “relative” perspectives on poverty are relevant.Also, on social protection, while your example of Mexico is interesting, do you think the same type of experience could be replicated in sub-Saharan Africa? Debt reduction and budget support approaches have so far clearly not been sufficient to break the cycle of rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet a key issue is how to encourage effective social protection approaches and welfare support for the vulnerable at the same time as promoting economic growth in this region, given public sector resource constraints. What about the idea of a donor-supported Marshall Plan for Africa and African agriculture?Karim Hussein Rome, Italy ©OECD Observer No. 262 July 2007


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