3 Responses

  1. Denis Blight
    Denis Blight January 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I agree that Asia should remain a development assistance priority for Australia but that the continent should be disaggregated in terms of detailed bilateral priorities. India and China have recently ‘graduated’ as did South Korea and Singapore long ago and Malaysia and Thailand more recently; Vietnam and the Philippines might be next. That would leave countries such Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, East Timor, Burma, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and North Korea and several others depending on where the boundaries are drawn and whether the Asian republics are included.

    In terms of the Asian century, therefore, there are two points to be made: we should look forward to, encourage and even insist upon further graduations as the pace of economic growth picks up – possibly by defining an end of aid timetable with the countries concerned – and focus on the poorest five or six countries and the African continent; and before graduation we should be looking to ways to ensure continuity beyond graduation so that the many human and institutional links fostered in the aid era are sustained into the Asian century. Mostly, this can be done by the institutions, companies and individuals already involved but innovative ways of government support (often by simply getting out of the way). Much is being done already. A quick scan, for example, of ongoing and self funded scientific cooperation between Australian and Asian research and training institutions will find that much of it has its origins in aid programs.

    Aid graduation or an end to aid might well be a vote winning issue to justify a continuing commitment to development assistance bolstered by a confidence that it will achieve its objectives of self-sustaining prosperity.

    Finally, in terms of refugees, Stephen seems to have missed my point (and omitted an ‘n’ in the spelling of my first name). I am less concerned with definitions or even transparency but in seeking to encourage thinking about how development assistance funds might be used imaginatively to help those fleeing their own countries. One way, which is already being explored is to introduce a massive program of investment in public, NGO and private education, especially of girls, in refugee camps. A few hundred million dollars might make a big difference. I think DFID may be leading the way in such an endeavour.

  2. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke January 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    AusAID and the Minister for Foreign Affairs were going so well improving transparency, but then comes the leak of the effective $375 million cut to the program and the unexplained delay in releasing the Annual Review of Aid Effectiveness …

  3. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain January 8, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Thanks to Stephen and Robin for getting this year’s blog off to a great start. There will be a whole lot more to say on this topic as the year progresses without doubt. Another area I think will prove interesting and possibly troublesome for Australian aid is the need to acknowledge and accommodate a range of new donors. In the Asian context this includes countries who continue to be recipients of Australian aid – it is possible that their priorities for aid are not aligned with those of Australia. As for the discussion in the lead up to the Australian election, it would be nice to think that it will be the focus of policy debate but it seems unlikely as it seems to me that it does not feature as a vote-winning issue – but we shall see!

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