Return to Global productivity

Global action needed

  • Clearly, cash and food aid must always be ready for those nations hit by a disaster and desperately in need

  • After that, however, most G7/ G20 foreign aid should focus on teaching GRoW nations:

    • How to find water, irrigate and farm their land

    • How to provide minimum levels of health care for all

    • How to educate their own children and workers for all their sectors

    • How to set up and run companies that can not only help meet the basic needs of their people but also provide many of the better things in life

  • Apart from teaching expenses, most of the costs would be for basics such as seeds and fertilisers, tractors and ploughs, drilling equipment, drugs or cement, all of which ideally should be bought from a donor nation’s own suppliers as long as they were competitive – self-interest writ large

  • The overarching principle here is ‘give a man a fish and his family will not be hungry for a day – teach a man to fish and his family will not be hungry again’

  • Such knowledge is not a competitive secret either – passing it on will not reduce sales for G20 companies – quite the opposite, it should increase them

  • So action individual donor nations should take includes:

    • Educate their top managers who will then be able to educate those beneath them

    • Encourage/ subsidise formal G20 educational establishments – primary and secondary schools, universities and business schools – to offer them education which matches their own national standards:

      • The UK’s Open University already sends videos of their top lecturers

      • Tyler Cowen, economics professor at George Mason University, USA, forecast in Average is Over: “Within the next five years, the world’s best education, or something close to it, will be available on-line, and free”

    • Send brains to the poor nations rather than drain them away – build opportunities for qualified people to stay or migrate there so that more and more will follow them – educated people like to meet and mix with like-minded people

    • Encourage clusters of business excellence, building on each nation’s strengths

    • Provide access to international best practice knowledge in key sectors and professions

    • Enable widespread use of the internet and mobile phones to encourage internal competition

    • Extend the VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas-  idea by encouraging members of a developed nation’s ‘Silver Army’ to mentor their local managers and help build their companies

    • Open up home markets to them – take down current tariff barriers

    • Help them diversify into higher value-adding areas where they have strengths 

  • In other words, stop blindly pouring in foreign aid cash, much of which can end up in the wrong pockets – instead, offer more knowledge aid– aid which builds on their strengths

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