Magazine article New Internationalist

Aid to the Rich

Magazine article New Internationalist

Aid to the Rich

Article excerpt

Worth $3.3 billion, Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer does not fit the picture of a person in need of aid. But while the public's attention is on the high-profile media group Publishing & Broadcasting Limited, controlled by the Packers, another of their companies - GRM International - manages aid projects funded by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank.

Like most companies delivering aid, GRM's main expertise is management. Such companies have only minimal expertise in the services they are contracted to deliver: in GRM's case this includes education, health and public-sector reform. An example is a $16-million Australian-funded project to improve English, science and maths teaching in the Philippines.

Not only does GRM manage these projects but, like all private companies in the aid sector, it also profits from them. According to Aidwatch, a non-profit organization monitoring aid, almost all Australian aid is administered in this way, with only five per cent handled by Australian NGOs. …

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