Post 2 “Good News/Bad News. A Little of Both”

Radelet focuses his book on 17 emerging countries, nations that have been making legitimate progress in Africa. However, first he does take some time to talk about the usual “bad news” coming from African nations. “Newspapers report endless civil wars, repeated coups, gross misrule, famine, disease, and poverty across the continent. Academics, pundits, and Western politicians decry the failures and misdeeds of private investors, foreign aid agencies, or African leaders and paint a picture of a continent in perpetual crisis…But the image of an entire continent mired in failure and hopelessness is increasingly out of date.” A main point Radelet focuses on going forward is that all of Africa cannot be put in the same category, it’s a vast and diverse continent. Radelet divides African nations into 3 groups: the 17 emerging countries, oil producers, and the rest. “It is demoralizing for the emerging countries, some of which work so hard in the face of so many challenges to achieve even small and fragile gains, when they are lumped together and dismissed as part of a disastrous whole.” These 17 nations have showed positive patterns of growth and stability, and improved nearly across the board. The “good news” for these countries can be seen through five fundamental changes. More democratic and accountable governments, along with more sensible economic policies, provide the base upon which the other 3 changes can occur. The change in the nature of the debt crisis, along with new technologies have allowed these countries to improve economically and in quality of life. Finally, a new generation of political, social, and economic leaders are beginning to rise, educated and motivated to help their nations progress.

But how can we measure this growth, and how can we keep it sustainable? First of all, we have many metrics to see how these nations have improved their situations. Economies have grown an average of 3.2% per capita since 2006. Trade and investment have more than doubled, with a noticeable return on those investments. With education, school enrollment, completion, and literacy rates have all increased. Overall, replacing dictatorships with democracies has raised accountability and lowered corruption. But is this growth sustainable? If we look back to my previous post, sustainable growth is all about getting communities involved and keeping costs low. If a system can be infinitely expandable and increase efficiency, rapid growth can be maintained, to a point. MDG’s have helped to organize these small communities and create tangible improvements.

Millenium Villages are a series of 14 communities in 10 different countries, aimed at assisting the villages with sustainable growth. “The Millennium village financing model is built on the premise that, with modest support, rural economies can transition from subsistence farming to self-sustaining commercial activity.” The key is to get the entire community involved and invested, including women and vulnerable groups, so they can all make progress together. The village of Mayange, located in Rwanda, is one of these communities chosen to be a part of the program. The terrain around Mayange is less suitable for crops, being flat and dry. Usually these areas are used for pastoral uses and livestock. Over time with these Millennium Village projects created real growth, but in quality of life and in the economy. New businesses like a cassava flour plant, honey production, pig and chicken farming, and basket weaving/knitting businesses for women. Libraries and computer facilities have been set up to help with literacy and technology skills. The list goes on with more successful small businesses, enabling the members of the community to help themselves out of poverty and invest in the future. The program “Be-Girl Pads” also has taken an interest in the community, choosing fifty girls to participate. In Africa many girls miss fifty or more days of school because of menstrual cycles, making them fall behind and often drop out. These programs supply the girls with hygiene products like pads and help to educate the girls about their cycles. Initiatives like these help people to educate themselves and create a brighter future. If these first free systems seem to be successful, they will be looking into manufacturing these pads locally, creating local small business and jobs. These Millennium Villages have had some success, but questions of the real impact have been raised. If these communities become dependent on foreign efforts, in the future they can have problems becoming self-sustaining. That being said, the progress in Mayange is sustainable, with its small businesses and production of goods they can sell. These Millennium Villages are not the perfect solution to the problem of development, but they have created real tangible growth for the people in these communities.

Blog Post 2:Millennium Village Project

When we think Africa, most of us think of those poor starving children on TV with no shoes or running water. There is an instant feeling of pity. Steven Radelet brings attention to this problem in his book Emerging Africa. He argues that the rest of the world focuses on the bad news out of Africa, instead of the good news. There is also the habit of lumping the poor countries together, sweeping over the countries making enormous strides. There are at least 17 countries that Radelet refers to as “Emerging countries”. According to him they are sources of good news in Africa. The good news boils down to successfully peaceful elections or trends towards democracy, stability in economic improvements and improved life expectancy and overall health.


Another project working throughout regions of Africa is the Millennium Village Project run by Sachs. Koraro, Ethiopia was chosen for this program because it is surrounded by dry land with a rather short rainy season. It is prone to severe drought making it difficult to grow crops in the area. On top of the poor growing conditions, the village has an elevated amount of cases in malaria and maternal mortality rates. They are also over 10 km away from any dry road cutting them off from other cities.

They have had many successes. This village in particular was testing out a beekeeping program. Through the program they have more than 1,200 bee colonies have been established. There has also been progress in teaching local women how to manage dairy cows, poultry production, fattening animals and trading textiles and grains. Construction wise there have been five health posts and six primary schools built with construction of new roads underway.

The Human Development Indicators for Ethiopia have been trending on and upward rise. It is still pretty low, ranking at 174 among the other countries. In other words, there has been improvement in health care and education and other things dealing with general well being. The World Development Indicators focus more on the numbers of income and poverty levels. Looking at these statistics, Ethiopia has improved in several areas. Population and life expectancy at brith have both gone up significantly in the past few years. Poverty headcount has drastically dropped from 1995 to 2010. On the downside, the CO2 emissions per house hold have been on a consistent rise.


There are many critics praising Sachs and his Millennium Village Project. He took his idea of investment to give the small villages a hand up instead of a handout and put it in action. For most of his villages that were chosen, there seemed to be improvements. There are two large critics of Sachs that claim the reports do not provide the full story. Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demomynes argued that, yes the villages might have been doing better than previous years, but there is not enough evidence that the progress was related to the program. Few of the villages in 2011 were doing remarkably better than the rest of the country at the same time. They also argue that the only coverage of the projects come from reporters that have not done a thorough job researching. Most of the journalists’ reports rely heavily on press releases from Sachs and the project sites.

The question comes back to “Is the MVP working?” There is a lot of critical debate when in comes to the statistics. Critics argue over the cause of certain countries performing better than they have in the past few years. But can it all be measured in numbers? Sachs takes the old saying “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime” and puts it into action. Through the MVPs many small villages are given a chance to provide for themselves. They are given the tools to better their lives and their communities. Even if the yearly income doesn’t improve yet, the villagers have been empowered to work towards success. The programs have gotten villages back on their feet and working hard instead of taking handouts. So how is it that we define success?

Post 1: Creating Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries

Jacqueline Novogratz, in her TED Talk “Invest in Africa’s Own Solutions”, goes into the perceptions of poverty and how they are skewed for most people. She points out that often people think of the poor as anyone living below four dollars a day. However, she says it’s important to realize that it’s much more of a complex issue than just income. Poverty is linked with fear, ethnic strife, bad living conditions, all of these are factors. People living below four dollars, when you aggregate it, make up the 3rd largest economy in the world. Her main message is that for aid in impoverished countries, the key is to build small, make it infinitely expandable and affordable to the poor. “The only way to end poverty, to make it history, is to build viable systems, on the ground, that deliver critical and affordable goods and services to the poor, in ways that are financially sustainable and scalable” By doing this, and encouraging the local communities to invest in themselves, these countries CAN be helped out of poverty. Sustainable Development Goals, an extension of the Millennium Development Goals, were set in order to foster an international system of aid for impoverished peoples. These goals, such as lowering the deaths of children or getting more of them into primary school, were intended as a guide by which developed countries could take initiative and focus on helping developing nations. SDG’s call for socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth, to help developing countries to become more self-sufficient. Peaking in the later 90’s, neoliberalism has had profound effects on foreign aid, especially from countries like the US. In 1997, The US’s total foreign aid hit .09% of the gross national income, an all time low. The World Bank and IMF put conditions on aid to foreign governments, if they wanted to receive aid. The ensuing cuts in social programs led to a stagnation in these countries, with rising poverty and child mortality, along with a fall in life expectancy. In Own The Goals, John McArthur details how the developed countries of the world, like the US, implemented the SDG’s and how they held back. In the 2000’s, the Bush administration voiced their support of the Millennium Declaration, but not of the MDG’s. They claimed that the MDG’s were ‘UN dictated aid quotas”. Eventually, the US embraced the MDG’s, but not before missing an opportunity to enhance relations with developing countries. By rejecting the concept, not the content, of the MDG’s, the Bush administration held itself back internationally for several years. “The MDG’s have helped mobilize and guide development efforts by emphasizing outcomes…They have shown how much can be achieved when ambitious and specific targets are matched with rigorous thinking, serious resources, and a collaborative global spirit” He criticizes countries like the US and organizations like the World Bank, who drug their feet on actual aid commitments. The World Bank championed MDG efforts at the top level, but failed to get such efforts moving on the ground. In “How to Help Poor Countries”, questions about the efficacy of foreign aid are raised. How can the greatest effect be reached, and does this aid directly influence quality of life? In practice, it is not just the amount of aid but the way that it is implemented that’s important. “Greater opportunities for poor and less skilled workers to move across borders would, more than anything else, increase both the efficiency of resource allocation in the world economy and the incomes of the citizens of poor countries” In order for aid to work, it needs to be effectively implemented to help the correct sections of people. In instances of poor governing bodies, aid funds are mismanaged and often stolen, leading to incredible waste and worsening conditions. The goal is to create sustainable development, to help these developing countries to grow in a healthy way that will continue for many years. McArthur says, “sustainable progress is in the hands of the poor countries themselves” but also, “developed countries should not abandon the poor to their plight”. One consistent point made by several of these speakers/authors, is that incentive is key. In order to encourage these countries to climb out of poverty, the incentive has to be visible and beneficial to the people. Capitalism is a system that relies on profit as a motivator, the end-all-be-all for economic stimulus. By building profitable relationships with these developing countries, the US and other nations like it can help to raise the living standards and well being of everyone.

Post 2 : Good news in Africa


What are the factors that classify as good news in Africa according to Radelet?
According to Radelet good news in Africa is when some countries are considered to be emerging countries. Right now, there are seventeen countries (more than 300 million people) that are considered to be emerging which is a positive report. Indeed, more companies are thinking about Africa to open factories or even to move their production. Radelet said that the end of the debt crisis and changing relationships with the international community improved the prospects of African countries.

For some countries, there is an economic growth which improve the lives of many Africans.  And it has been proven that a growing economy leads to the number of people living under the poverty line to decrease (like in Vietnam or India).

Good news is also when the access to education is easier – especially for girls or when the access to health is more common.


The Millenium Villages – Tiby, MaliRésultats de recherche d'images pour « tiby mali »

I find it interesting to know a little more about the villages in the countries of Africa that are benefiting from financial aid thanks to The Millennium Project, which is an initiative that focuses on research implementing the organizational means, operational priorities, and financing structures necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goals or (MDGs) which we already talked about in the first blog post.

Picture :

The region I’d like to concentrate on and talk about is in Mali and it is called Tiby. Tiby is located in the southern region of Segou which happen to be one of the poorest region in Mali. It contains 11 villages.  It’s hosting around 75,000 people.  It also a village which doesn’t receive a lot of water making it hard to do agriculture and therefore hard to feed the people.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « tiby mali »

It may be one of the reason why this village was chosen. When we think about helping the countries in Africa, it is to help them get out of poverty mostly. All the goals of the Millenium project can be seen on the website :


As of today, fertilization technology as well as drip irrigation were given to more than 1,300 farmers according to Moreover, 13 vegetable gardens were created improving the life of 2,800 women. A real step forward was also made when in 2008 two clinics were opened increasing the health of hundreds of people. There is more to come for this village.

In numbers, the Mali GDP was of 8.15 in 2006 and it went up to 14 in 2015, almost the double. According to the world bank, the life expectancy at birth was of 28 years in 1960 and in 2014, it was 58 years old. It proves the improvement in the past few years.  Today, the Human Development Index for Mali 0.419 and it is ranking 179.

Does it mean there are only successes? No, of course. Critics are arguing that the expectations were much higher than the actuals numbers. In 2009? 43.9% of the population still lived in poverty and according to some professional website the decrease in the growth should be seen in the future.



Post 2: Improvements in Africa

In his book Emerging Africa, Steve Radelet investigates the events taking place in Africa today and in the last decade. He opens with the commonly held misconception that no one expects any good news to come out of Africa. People have been conditioned to expect news of civil war, endemic diseases, and other tragic and brutal events. However, Radelet focuses his book on a group of 17 countries he calls the “emerging countries.”

These emerging countries are steadily experiencing higher quality of life for their citizens. For example, Ghana has seen at least a 5% growth in their economy every single year for the last 15 years. The average economic growth for each of these countries has been at least 3.2% per capita per year since 1996. Along with this economic growth, the emerging countries are seeing falling levels of poverty. In Ghana, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line has decreased by 20%.

This is in stark contrast to the Africa of the 70’s and 80’s. 50 years ago, when most African colonies began gaining their independence, many were taken over by authoritarian governments with strong economic and political controls. These governments made poor economic choices and borrowed large sums of money from foreign sources, plunging their countries into outrageous debt. Subsequently, an economic crisis began in Africa: loans from foreign sources were cut, and governments no longer had the resources to stifle political unrest.

The economic and political discontent felt by many citizens in these African countries helped lead to the current economic turnaround seen today. With Namibia’s first election in 1989, a new “era of democracy” began in Africa, with all 17 of the emerging countries establishing a democratic government. According to Radelet, “Never in history have so many low-income countries become democratic in such a short amount of time.”

Within these newly established democracies, Radelet witnessed a shift towards the protection of civil liberties and government transparency and accountability. Accompanying these shifts was the implementation of more sensible and sustainable economic policies, as the emerging countries were still trying to escape the debt crisis. According to Radelet, the rise of democracy and establishment of good economics are the two driving factors of this turnaround. He also recognizes that the spread of technology and a new generation of leaders have contributed to higher quality of life in the emerging countries.

As these emerging countries began to experience unprecedented economic growth, one well-known economist, Jeffrey Sachs, decided to test his hypothesis on the best methods to contribute aid to communities in Africa living below the poverty line using a mission he named the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). The goal of this project is to fight poverty at the village level with community-based development, providing communities with the education and resources they need to become economically self-sufficient.

The first MVP site was established in Sauri, Kenya, in 2004. The area is actually composed of 11 different villages with a high population density around 70,000, according to the MVP website. Before the project began, citizens in Sauri harvested an average of 1.9 tons of maize per hectare, leading to deficiencies of food. Additionally, only about ½ of women received treatment for HIV/AIDS. Since the project was begun, maize yield has increased to 5 tons of maize per hectare, helping to decrease food insecurity in the area. The project has also educated citizens in beekeeping and fish farming in an effort to diversify the income of the area. Almost all women receive HIV/AIDS treatment and 97% of children receive the measles vaccine.

While these statistics are promising and certainly point to higher quality of life for the people of Sauri, many are not convinced that these improvements were catalyzed solely by the MVP. Looking at statistics for Kenya as a whole, we can see that the GDP increased from $12.7 billion in 2000 to $63.4 billion in 2015. Additionally, life expectancy has increased from 50.8 to 61.6, and the human development index (HDI), a measure of many different factors that contribute to quality of life in a country, has increased from 0.45 to 0.548. Thus, while Sauri is doing better in many areas, so is the rest of Kenya.

Sachs and his team have also received much criticism for their reports on the success of the MVP. Several different sites have noted that, while Sachs reported improvement in 13 of the 17 indicators for the MVP villages, no villages were chosen as controls with which to compare the MVP sites. Thus, there is a lack of evidence that the MVP is the reason for these improvements. Additionally, Sachs has been criticized for claiming incorrect figures in the decline of child mortality rates in the MVP villages.

Still, in looking at the pros and cons of the MVP, I believe that it is a viable project towards ending poverty. It implements change and improvements at the village level, empowering citizens to make their own decisions towards economic stability and providing resources to give them a step up. As they say, “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”




Millennium bugs. May 2012.

Sauri, Kenya.

Murphy T. Learning from mistakes made: The Millennium Villages Project. October 2013.

Radelet S. Emerging Africa.

Starobin P. Does It Take a Village? June 2013.

Post 1: Eliminating Poverty

To begin a discussion about how to prevent poverty, we first must define what “poverty” really means. Jacqueline Novogratz discusses this definition in two of her TED talks, “Invest in Africa’s Own Solutions” and “An Escape from Poverty.” Here, she first provides the traditional definition of being poor: those people around the world that earn less than $4 a day. Novogratz then adds to this definition, stating that poverty is a social system in which the poor become entrapped. For example, the poor often must pay very high rates for renting items for their business, such as a cart to sell vegetables or a sewing machine to tailor clothing. Without a hand up, these people can never break out of this cycle because they are never able to save enough money to buy their own items. Even if a poor person can break out of this cycle, they still may be stuck due to other aspects related to poverty, such as social status.

In both of her talks, Ms. Novogratz’s main message is that we, as developed nations, must help poor communities help themselves. Donating items and money is not enough; We must instead build viable systems that operate locally to create more jobs, increase revenue circulating in the economy, and build the necessary infrastructure and systems to allow this positive cycle to continue.

Neo-liberalism, or the cutting of government spending on international aid, had huge effects on the poorest people of the world. In his article, “Own the Goals,” John McArthur describes the process of neo-liberalism. During the 1990s, institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) required countries to scale back their spending on social policies in order to receive their support. In the same respect, developed countries such as the United States reduced funding towards public and aid programs and became focused on issues within their own country.

During the 90’s, many of the poorest countries in Africa took a nosedive as a result of these funding changes. Poverty and child deaths grew, and life expectancy in these countries dropped considerably. Nearly 52% of people in the sub-Saharan Africa lived in extreme poverty in 1981; this number increased to 58% by 1999. People with critical diseases such as AIDs and malaria were unable to afford the treatment they desperately needed.

Recognizing these issues, the United Nations established 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the year 2000, with the goal of both assisting and decreasing the world’s population that lives in extreme poverty. The goals ranged from promoting primary education to improving health care and treatments. It was agreed that developed countries were responsible for supporting and providing aid to those countries that were struggling with extreme poverty. The MDGs were phased out in 2015, and a new set of goals, called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were put into place, with the goal of building upon the progress made by the MDGs and addressing the next set of pertinent issues.

However, not everyone was onboard for the MDGs. McArthur specifically calls out the United States and the World Bank for acting as “players on the bench.” He is specifically using this term to refer to organizations and countries that participated in the UN but had not fully accepted or endorsed the MDGs. In the case of the US, the Bush administration and other government leaders did not support the MDGs – monetarily or verbally – because of so-called UN-dictated aid quotas and tension over the Iraq War. Ironically, the US did begin to expand its foreign aid, particularly in areas that the MDGs highlighted, but never publicly showed support for the MDGs. Eventually, the US did modify its position and came to support the MDGs.

Likewise, the World Bank has not worked towards facilitating MDG efforts outright. This resistance was also caused by some tension over “required” aid quotas, as well as a view point aimed more towards economic reform, rather than social reform. Eventually, the World Bank began to back the MDGs, likely due to a huge budget expansion for the International Development Association.

As aid to developing countries has increased in the last two decades, there has been some discussion about the best ways to promote economic growth and improved living conditions for the people who need it most. The essay “How to Help Poor Countries” investigates the issues at hand. The authors suggest that the problems lie less in access to external markets and aid and more in the administration of each developing country. To successfully improve citizens’ well-being, there must be a reliable and responsible government that will allocate aid money for programs that will improve living conditions for all of their citizens, like infrastructure and public welfare. Thus, developed nations can better help third world countries by removing corrupt leaders and assisting research and development into the medicines and products that are most needed by poor countries. As developed nations begin to learn these lessons, the specific actions taken to fulfill the SDGs can be altered and improved, and future development goals can be tailored to better utilize resources for the poor.

Post 1 : How can we help poor countries?

Today, I’ll talk about the actions rich countries put into place in order to help poor countries. The main subject will be on what could be done, and the usefulness of foreign aid.

  • Jacqueline Novogratz in her TED talk brings up the question on how to define poverty. What is her answer? What is her main message?

Ms Novagratz gives us a different approach on poverty. Most people might think that poverty is a determined number given by economists. A person earning less than $4 per hour is considered to be poor. However, she points out that some people may not be qualified to be “poor” but might still not be able to live at ease with good living conditions since they can’t afford to buy their own house, or have their own bedroom for example. The standards of living vary from each country and it is, therefore, hard to give an exact wage per hour to define poverty.

            Her main message is that the world cannot end poverty by “simply” giving money to poor countries like the ones inAfrica. In order, for countries to not be poor anymore, she says we have to “build viable  systems on the ground to deliver affordable goods and services to the poor in the ways that are financially sustainable and scalable.” To resume, we have to help the people of those poor countries work and develop their business by providing them a way to access goods that are more affordable.A worker looks for holes in mosquito netting at A to Z Textile Mills in Arusha, Tanzania

To help the audience understand she gives two main examples: one is farmers that were able to make their production grow thanks a new tool. The second example is  a mosquito net company in Tanzania that became the best company of the country in only a couple of years and that was thanks to the work from local workers, mostly women motivated to do their best in order to improve their way of life.

PHOTO: Sulay Momoh Jongo, 7, is seen inside a mosquito net in a mud hut in Mallay village, southern Sierra Leone, on April 8, 2008. REUTERS/Katrina Manson


  • What is the vision, the goal of the SDGs? What is the effect of neo-liberalism (cutting government spending promoted by the World Bank and IMF)?

The Sustainable Development Goals, long for SDGs, is a concept that has for goal to solve global problems in a sustainable way by using sustainable resources for future generations. Sustainable development therefore aims to create a balance among environmental,social and economic goals.

In a world, which will have to fit 9 billion people by 2040, the number 1 goal of the SDG is to end poverty, since as of today there are up to 1 billion people that are considered “poor” or below the line of poverty. When thinking about poverty, most people will first think that people are starving and/or don’t have access to potable water. That’s the second goal of the SDGs: to end hunger and achieve food security as well as improving the nutrition for as many people as possible.

            The effect with neo-liberalism is the impact it has on the process to achieve the goals. Indeed, neo-liberalism has a tendency to care more about the development of a market even if it’s at the expense of the environment. Cutting government spending (mainly after the Cold War) means that there is less money going to the SDGs which in return means less financial help to succeed in achieving the goals.english_sdg_17goals_poster_all_languages_with_un_emblem_1

Photo SDGs

  • John McArthur in Own the Goals talks about “Players on the Bench”. Who are they and what do they criticize?

According to John McArthur, United States is the Players on the Bench. They initially promised a 50 percent increase in U.S foreign aid within three years. However, the country said that they supported the Millennium Declaration but not the Millennium Development Goals even though both are linked and have the same interests. The main criticism is made on the fact that the US government, under the Bush presidency, improved the access to the medication for people who have AIDS, even though it wasn’t directly listed in the goal of the MDGs meaning that Bush government wanted to improve its own goal instead of the one that the SGDs had planned.

  • The article “How to Help Poor Countries” (2005) addresses the question of more aid money. Please elaborate. What are suggestions by the authors?

They address the questionof whether rich countries should give more or less money to poor countries. The author researched countries to see if more aid money was needed to really help developing countries (What methods did they use?). They found that countries, like Vietnam and China which haven’t received much foreign aid, but are still still developed more than countries, such as countries in Africa which received more foreign aid.

            More than money, the creation of domestics reforms within their countries China and Vietnam have been able to prosper and reduce poverty. The access to foreign market also plays an important role and countries that are developing successfully are the ones that know how to exploit their advantages. A quote that define well the complicated road toward the end of poverty from the article “How to Help Poor Countries” by Nancy Birdsall, Dani Rodrik, and Arvind Subramanian: “At its best, aid has helped nations rebuild after conflicts and assisted in achieving specific objectives. But its role in creating and sustaining key institutions and long-term economic health has been much less clear.”

To end, here is a pie chart which shows what American think on foreign aid.





Post 1

Jacqueline Novogratz in her TED talks brings up the question on how to define poverty. She addresses that many government and world standards define poverty by a number. More specifically defined by making less than $4 a day. Her overall message was about how to help these individuals and families help themselves. It is one thing to send in supplies, like clothes from our Goodwills, which could possibly run the local clothes industries out of business, and another to go in and help locals create their own businesses. Jacqueline worked with a group in Tanzania that made malaria nets. The local women took a US business model and formatted it to selling the nets. She watched as the women took the small opportunity and made a profit. Jacqueline made a clear point that poor people can make smart economic decisions if they are given the chance.

The vision and goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development. Many of the current goals are to reduce hunger and poverty while working towards a greener and cleaner functioning society. Equal opportunity and access to materials despite economic status or gender or race is another way to look at the SDGs. I am unclear on the effect of neo- liberalism. My opinion is that it pushes more thoughtful thinking into the funding of certain projects. Instead of throwing large amounts of money into programs to help certain companies, the money is focused on more practical approaches that might benefit more individuals around the world.

The “Players on the Bench” in John McArther’s Own the Goals refers to President Bush and his administration. During his time in office, Bush supported many of the intentions of the MDGs. President Bush pushed for a 50% increase in the US foreign aid in three years. In 2003, Bush put together the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. There was no doubt that the US was in support of providing aid for other countries. While drawing many ideas from the MDGs, the Bush Administration refused to acknowledge any of them due to the fact that they appeared as “UN-dictated aid quotas”. McArthur criticizes this approach because the United States missed out on several opportunities to do more. Much of the world had accepted the MDGs and by not acknowledging them, the United States alienated themselves. The consequences of their actions will be felt later as they try to solve a bit less agreed upon problems in the world.

Similar to Jacqueline Novogratz, the article “How to Help Poor Countries” focuses on the idea of helping countries help themselves. Poverty is not solved by simply writing a check to clear all of the debt a country has built up. Sending aid does not always benefit the entire country either. It is often common belief that countries economically allied with the richer countries such as the United States would do better off as well. The article points out the situation of Vietnam and Nicaragua to counter that belief. Vietnam is not part of the World Trade Organization and had a US embargo placed on them until 1994. However, it is still doing better than Nicaragua which has had continuous access to the United State’s resources. The reasoning is due to Nicaragua’s history of power being left to just a few political elites with no amount of aid able to overcome that history. In other words, the root of most economic problems stems from government corruption or week regimes. Instead of providing straight aid, countries need to be cleared of their corrupt leaders. Aid only goes as far as a country uses it efficiently.