x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Obama unveils aid overhaul plan at UN

The US president unveiled a shake-up of the United States' trade, investment and development policies in a bid to free aid-dependent nations from relying on foreign cash flows.

NEW YORK // The US president unveiled a shake-up of the United States' trade, investment and development policies in a bid to free aid-dependent nations from relying on foreign cash flows. Barack Obama announced his aid overhaul during his second appearance at UN headquarters yesterday in a debate on weak progress towards the world body's anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"For too long, we've measured our efforts by the dollars we spent and the food and medicines we delivered," he said towards the end of a three-day debate on MDG progress. "But aid alone is not development. "Development is helping nations to actually develop - moving from poverty to prosperity. And we need more than just aid to unleash that change. We need to harness all the tools at our disposal - from our diplomacy to our trade and investment policies."

Boost farming yields in Guatemala, Rwanda and Bangladesh has been more effective than providing food aid, he said. Helping officials in Mali and Nepal build healthcare systems was better than foreign charities providing doctors. "The days when your development was dictated in foreign capitals must come to an end," Mr Obama said. Highlighting "broad-based economic growth" as the answer to lift people out of poverty, the US president called for governments to be more accountable, tackle corruption, advocate for the rule of law and embrace democratic reforms.

@Email:jreinl@thenational.ae