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Symposium 2008

Solution for Empowering the World's Poor Countries

The Challenge

Roughly 20 percent of the developing world’s population lives on less than $1 a day. What are the most effective ways to make poverty history? There are two broad ways of empowering the world’s ...

Roughly 20 percent of the developing world’s population lives on less than $1 a day. What are the most effective ways to make poverty history? There are two broad ways of empowering the world’s poor countries, one involves aid and the other self-help.

Create good governance by strengthening peer review, establishing international agreements on state and business transparency, and monitoring through the recipients of aid.

Good governance is crucial for all aspects of development. Bad governance, corruption and rent-seeking are still widespread and lie at the core of the development failure of some countries. Creating a vigilant civil society is an essential step to hold governments in the world´s poor countries more accountable, as the fight against bad governance must be initiated jointly by local governments and civil society.


The African peer review mechanism, a voluntary self-monitoring initiative by several African countries, is a promising example of a people-centered initiative. To manage the peer review and inculcate the spirit of accountability, private thinktanks should be set up to gather information from government and civil society. In addition, international agreements on state and business transparency are required to hold all involved accountable.

In a similar vein, if aid is to be effective, those to whom aid is given should be doing the monitoring. Aid presently goes directly to government, which becomes the player and referee in its own match. This needs to change by empowering civil society to have a far more critical role in the monitoring of how aid is allocated and spent.

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