‘Countries at Very Low Levels of Economic Development Face Such Huge Challenges That They Cannot Hope to Address Them Without Assistance from the Rest of the World.’ to What Extent Do You Agree with This View?

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There are some countries in this world with a GDP less than $750, with populations earning less than $1 a day, life expectancies barely reaching past 40 years old and devastatingly poor levels of health care, school enrolment and adult literacy rates. These are the defining indicators of people living in low developing countries (LDC’s). Populations living in poverty and the majority with an income too small to accommodate their basic needs and the resources in the national economy, even when equally distributed are not enough to provide a sustainable living for the population. Of the 50 countries recognised as LDC’s, 33 are found in Africa, south of the Sahara with 374 million living on an income of less than $2 a day. It seems that without a doubt these countries need assistance from the rest of the world in order to develop, but the type of assistance in order to enable this development more effectively is still being carefully speculated. While governments and non- governmental organisations continue to give more and more aid to these countries, it seems perhaps aid isn’t the only solution to and we should look at examples such as the Asian tigers to comprehend how encouraging trade and foreign investment is the real answer to helping these LDC’s address their problems. The huge problems that these countries face show us that assistance from the rest of the world to allow LDC’s to even begin a process of development is necessary. Poor economic policies in the past that have left them economically isolated from the rest of the world, only further encouraged by bad governance and corruption have led to the poor situations that these countries now face. Only worsened by problems such as drought, desertification, civil war- which has killed more through famine and hunger than through actual conflict- and weak economies. Without any significant global position in the trading world, developing countries, mainly in Africa, are in desperate need of assistance. Without a doubt first world countries have a part to play in assisting these countries out of poverty but there is increasing speculation as to what type assistance should be given to deal with their problems and bring them out of poverty once and for all. Foreign aid is continuing to grow, in the last three years it has risen by one third standing today at $125 billion a year. Of course, one cannot argue that aid makes no difference as non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam and Save the Children continue to reach to millions of people with essential humanitarian aid. For example, Oxfam has been working closely with countries in the east horn of Africa, suffering from the worsening drought that has pushed 13 million people fighting for survival. It has created programmes in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya with a mixture of emergency aid, long-term development and prevention to try and address the root causes of drought. It has also helped communities to look for more sustainable sources of water, by drilling boreholes and developing motorized water schemes. In response to some of the horrific natural disasters that many LDC’s face such as drought, and the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 short term aid definitely provides some much needed immediate support and whilst there has also been much investment in long term development projects, especially focusing on “bottom up” schemes to work closely with local communities to help bring about change, there still seems to be no real evidence of how effective this has all been. However, while there have been continuous attempts of a new “big push” development, the call for redoubling aid in the hope to eradicate poverty but has yet to be delivered. In spite of more than US$1 trillion in aid given to Africa over the last 50 years a big push in development is yet to be seen. From 1970 to 1995 aid to Africa increased rapidly and aid dependency stood at nearly 20%. During this same period GDP per capita growth in Africa decreased and...
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