23 October 2009

Is UK Aid failing?

Via David Roodman -

The 2009 Commitment to Development Index from the Center for Global Development (CGD) is out.

It doesn't make pretty reading from a UK perspective, falling from a rank of 6th (out of 22 rich countries) last year to 12th this year. Overtaken by Spain, Austria, Finland and Canada. Are you listening Gordon Brown? The Africa Commission and "Make Poverty History" were great and everything, but Austria now has better development policies than the UK.

The Index can be disaggregated into 7 components: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology.

The reason for the UK's drop in the rankings is a big decrease in the aid score. Perhaps some punishment for that horrible new logo?


More substantively, the UK is roughly around average for most of the scores, except for one. Can you guess which it is? Migration. Only Japan and South Korea have less development-friendly migration-policies than the UK.

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In other Migration News (seems to be the only thing I'm talking about at the moment), Michael Clemens, also of CGD, has a great FP "think again" article rebutting migration-skeptics who worry about "brain drain."

- Migration is not "stealing" human capital. It is an individual choice.

- Poor countries don't waste money training eventual migrants. They normally train themselves.

- Many skilled migrants eventually go back home with more skills and capital.

- Doctors in Africa don't live in the rural areas where they are most needed anyway, but concentrate in urban areas where they can get a better life.

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