PM Meles: Western aid focused on ‘managing poverty’ | Korea media

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday called on donor nations to provide quality aid that can help his nation out of poverty, saying development assistance alone cannot lead to industrialization.

His appeal came as a high-level international forum kicked off in South Korea’s port city of Busan to discuss aid effectiveness.

"Most development aid, especially from western countries, is used for social services, primary healthcare, primary education, and the like," Meles told reporters in Seoul, one day after he held summit talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The prime minister will attend the forum in Busan on Wednesday.

Developing countries can overcome their lack of infrastructure and skills partly through more focused investment in these areas, Meles said.

"Development aid can be effective or its impact on development can be very little. (That) depends on the quality of development aid," he said.

"The quality of aid Africa has been getting is not good quality. It has mostly been focused on managing poverty better than on eliminating it."

Meles acknowledged that a change in government policy is also critical to economic development, noting that his government has developed new strategies over the past eight years to achieve double-digit growth each year in that period.

The prime minister, who is on his third visit to the country since 1998, said he is eager to learn lessons from South Korea’s development experience. He pointed out that since his first visit, the Asian country has overcome two financial crises — the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s and the global economic crisis of 2008.

"For me, this is one of the characteristics of the success of Korea — its capacity to reinvent itself frequently, and its capacity to use adversities and challenge as a source of opportunity," he said.

This item was first published on the Korean outlet Yonhap with the title Ethiopian PM calls for quality development aid on Nov. 29, 2011.

Daniel Berhane

more recommended stories