Haiti doesn’t need foreign-aid money. It needs a better development strategy.
Haiti needs a development strategy that supports the private sector, attracts foreign investment, and empowers the country – not more foreign aid.
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The developed world can and should promote growth by eliminating agricultural subsidies and tariffs so that poor farmers can exploit advantages in farming. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have taken the first, small steps to do that by advocating relaxed trade restrictions on Haitian goods. The international community must heed these recommendations.Skip to next paragraph
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Foreign investment – not international donations – is a worthy development strategy that aligns long-term incentives between lenders and borrowers. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank should encourage sovereign countries to seek financing on international markets rather than provide grants and loans below market terms.
These reforms foster opportunities for local entrepreneurs to increase exports and meet local needs, which ultimately lead to economic and humanitarian improvement.
For years aid recipients have agreed that aid does not lead to growth and prosperity. Five years ago, Kenyan economist James Shikwati pleaded to aid planners, “For God’s sake, please just stop.” And nearly a decade ago, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade acknowledged, “I’ve never seen a country develop itself through aid or credit.”
More recently, Ms. Moyo argued for a gradual end of systematic aid claiming, “there is no country – anywhere in the world – that has meaningfully reduced poverty and spurred significant and sustainable levels of economic growth by relying on aid.”
Using international funding to meet Haiti’s short-term needs is one thing, but a forward-looking plan to reconstruct the nation – and properly construct much of it for the first time – is an entirely different one. Experts from rich Western countries craft “official development assistance” plans that sound promising in theory but have not worked in practice. There is no evidence that the newest round of donor spending and economic planning for Haiti will be any more effective than previous efforts.
Alternatives to foreign aid give developing countries long-term incentives to prosper and can unshackle local inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators. These strategies – not foreign aid – will effect lasting positive economic and humanitarian change for Haitians.