March 1, 2011
As the proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
As Congress spends this week reviewing ways in which to downsize the federal budget, Heritage Foundation expert James Roberts suggests they keep this proverb in mind and consider cuts to traditional foreign aid programs.
Traditional development assistance does not work, at least not if the goal is to foster sustainable development in poor countries. These efforts, such as those administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, dole out billions of dollars each year despite evidence that these policies virtually ensure that economic growth will be minimal or unsustainable.
In a new report outlining alternatives to traditional foreign aid programs, Roberts says that perhaps the only exception to America’s poor track record in foreign development is the Millennium Challenge Corporation. This program requires countries to demonstrate first and foremost a commitment to good governance, sound economic policies, and the well-being of their citizens.
Read more of Roberts’ report and tell us: How do you think America should help developing countries? What is America’s role?