Rich world policies to help poor improve
WASHINGTON, Wednesday (Reuters) Rich world policies to help
impoverished nations have improved over the past three years but the
world's largest economies - the United States and Japan - are still
stingy when it comes to aid, according to the third annual Commitment to
Conducted by the Washington-based Center for Global Development and
Foreign Policy Magazine, the 2005 index ranks 21 of the wealthiest
nations on how they help poor countries through foreign aid, and
policies on trade, investment, migration, environment and security.
The Netherlands, Scandinavian countries - Denmark, Sweden and Norway
- and Australia score the highest overall, while Japan scores the
"There has been a steady but slow improvement overall in rich country
policies that affect developing countries," said David Roodman, a
research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) think tank.
CGD head Nancy Birdsall said the index highlights contradictions between
what rich countries say about their support for poverty reduction and
what they actually do.
"The small increase in the average overall score in the past three
years is a cause for real concern," she said. "Despite the growing
public interest in development driven by such events as the 9/11
terrorist attacks, last December's tsunami and the recent G-8 summit,
rich countries overall have improved their policies toward development
only a little."
Denmark scored the highest for its foreign aid spending, peacekeeping
efforts and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Britain, Spain and Sweden showed the most improvement for increasing
aid, while Japan and the United States gave the least relative to the
size of their economies .
"This reflects the fact that (Japan) is still the most inward
orientated country. It doesn't give much aid, it has the highest trade
barriers and has fairly high barriers to immigration from developing
countries and makes fairly small contributions to peacekeeping," Roodman
told a conference call for reporters.
Roodman said that while the U.S. gives more aid than Denmark, it is
far less relative to the size of its economy.
"The United States does poorly in areas where the government is
involved but it does well in areas where the private sector is really
central," Roodman said.
For example, private aid donations to developing countries is higher
in the United States than in most countries at 10 cents per person per
day, according to Roodman.
But even adding that to the 15 cents a day in government aid leaves
the United States well short of donors such as Sweden and Denmark, who
contribute 72 cents and 99 cents a day in government aid.