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05th May 2006 Christine Kelly

Paul Collier: Does Africa need more aid?

Does Africa need more aid? Paul Collier, Professor of Economics at Oxford and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, gave a cautious “yes” when he spoke to Exeter students at the Rector’s seminar on Wednesday 3 May. Africa’s average growth per head in the past few decades had been a mere 0.1 percent per head in the past few decades. But it would have been negative without aid. And natural resources, such as oil, was even less help: Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil-rich country, had become poorer, not richer. Overall, Africa’s growth was diverging from that of the rest of the developing world by around 5 per cent a year.

Professor Collier was scathing about recent populist campaigns to increase aid and extend debt relief. Aid would be more effective, he argued, if bolstered by better and more accountable governance, protection for African goods from Asian competition, and more appropriate targeting of funds.

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