I firmly believe foreign aid focused on helping the poorest, particularly in areas like health and farm productivity, is delivering huge benefits. With additional money from wealthier countries, there are a lot of well-run programs that could save and improve even more lives than they do today. So I do think rich countries should be more generous.
The thing to remember is that these programs have a long-term benefit in that the improvements they make possible actually bring down population growth. As a result, all the issues of self sufficiency become far easier to address, whether it’s education or jobs or nutrition. So I do think we should spend more, and in fact, aid overall has been going up. This is a very positive development.
The danger is that with so many rich countries facing budget deficits, aid will be cut at some point. So far, Italy is the only one that has done this. But Germany, the UK, France, and the U.S. have been increasing aid. And then you have the countries like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway that have always been very generous.