Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Developing Victories

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Developing Victories

Article excerpt

Let's celebrate for a moment the great victory that's being won over poverty in the developing world, where the share of the population living on less than $1 a day tumbled from 40 percent to 18 percent between 1981 and 2004. But only for a moment. That remarkable achievement also serves to remind us how far there is to go from $1 a day, how many have been left behind, and how little billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States and others have had to do with the progress that has occurred.

The tragic failures of development aid are a common theme of three essays in this issue. G. Pascal Zachary's cover story is an inspiring account of how small-scale African farmers are embracing potentially revolutionary agricultural changes almost in spite of leading donor organizations. Samia Altaf, the Wilson Center's current Pakistan Scholar, contributes a darkly comic sketch of a single meeting in Islamabad that crystallized the bizarre dynamics that lead to the creation of well-intentioned aid programs that serve few but their creator institutions and the recipient governments. …

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