Is aid helping the South Pacific?

The Solomon Islands is not alone in failing to survive as a modern state. The problem is endemic, if not quite as acute, throughout the Pacifc. Helen Hughes, whose credentials as an analyst of development are substantial, provides a fascinating and depressing overview of the impact of more than 100 billion Australian Dollars of foreign aid on the Pacific since 1970.

” For most people, life is no better than it was 25 years ago. Redistribution has been from the poor to the rich. Small elites have appropriated the benefits of what little growth there has been.’ Women, working in traditional gardens, have until now prevented the emergence of hunger, but they bear the brunt of economic stagnation. ‘ The majority of girls in the Pacific have only two to three years’ schooling. Maternal death rates – reaching up to 370 per 100,000 live-births, compare with the worst performing African countries. Women are the victims of violence and crime that have followed economic stagnation.’ The Pacific receives the highest aid per capita in the world, averaging US$220 (A$370) per capita and for some of the smaller islands exceeding US$3,000 (A$5,000 ) per capita. “

The “full article(Link to Helen Huges’ Pacific aid paper)”:http://www.cis.org.au/IssueAnalysis/ia33/ia33.htm is available on the web and repays close reading.

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