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Surprising Science

Ghana: An African Success Story

UN aid programs that encourage the development of local communities and their economies help create self-sustaining families, cities and countries. In 10 years, Ghana could be off aid.

What’s the Latest Development?

International aid programs targeted at alleviating poverty are having a real effect in the African state of Ghana. Last week, American economist Jeffrey Sachs, who directs the UN’s Millennium Development Project, traveled to Tamale, Ghana, to announce that it would become the next Millennium Village. “The program takes a radical approach to aid, targeting five principal causes of extreme poverty and addressing all of them in an integrated way: health, education, agriculture, rural infrastructure and economic development.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The aid programs work, says Sachs, by involving local communities in implementation and by creating sustainable industry designed to outgrow the aid. “A village will be subject to rigorous evaluations in order to demonstrate sustainability and scalability, and that aid developed with an exit strategy can actually work.” Given the success of the program,  Western leaders should get on board. A stronger Africa would mean fewer foreign interventions and new economies in which businesses could cater to consumers.

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