Thursday, January 06, 2005

Difficulties with aid

On CNN last night there was an interview with an aid expert which was very informative.

Essentially it was about the difficulties associated with relief efforts such as the one underway now.

Although food is a problem at present, the rice growing infrastructure of effected areas has not been hard hit. An influx of free rice in the form of aid has the potential to undermine local rice growers.

The small businesses that have been effected would mostly have been financed at a very local level with loans of not more than $100 and not often from the banking system. Getting those businesses back up and running requires working in with this micro-economic level which requires a good knowledge of local conditions.

This is worth bearing in mind when people are tempted to criticise the UN or donor countries very being slow. Acting hastily may not be the best approach.

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