Analysts: US, UK Must Focus on Economic Freedom, Not Aid Dependency

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama trade bottles of beer during a bilateral meeting at the G-20 Summit in Toronto, Canada in June. Photo by: Pete Souza / The White House

Despite profound differences in strategies on how to turn their respective domestic economies around, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama agree on one thing: foreign aid spending.

Foreign policy analysts and experts Brett D. Schaefer and Anthony B. Kim said that, in their meeting at the White House July 20, the two leaders should focus on fostering “a more effective and innovative way of providing real development assistance that encourages recipients to adopt and pursue sound economic policies that advance economic freedom.”

“While there may be a role for assistance by donor nations, the bulk of economic evidence has repeatedly proven that the key to development lies in the hands of the governments of developing countries,” Schaefer and Kim wrote in a joint article in the Heritage Foundation’s website. “They must first remove obstacles to development by adopting policies that bolster free markets and entrepreneurship, good governance, and the rule of law.”

They argued that entrepreneurship coupled with greater economic freedom leads to “innovation, economic expansion, and overall human development.”

Both added that arbitrary aid targets that are not directly linked to reducing poverty do little to achieve that goal and recommended that “the two leaders should use the summit as a critical first step toward bringing real changes to the less developed world by shifting their commitment to the principles of economic freedom rather than the false promise of foreign aid.”

About the author

  • Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.