Do it like Britain — Paul Collier on how EU can help the bottom billion

The European Union is one of the world’s top donors, but the way it allocates development funding is all wrong, according to Paul Collier, author of the bestseller “The Bottom Billion.”

In a video interview with Devex President and Editor-in-chief Raj Kumar at the European Development Days in Brussels, the economics professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of African Economies said the EU should do as Britain does: close down programs in countries that are prospering and redirect aid to those that need it most.

One country in dire need of EU assistance is the Central African Republic. Collier lamented how Brussels didn’t help the African country a decade ago and rather lavished aid on countries that didn’t need it like the middle-income economies of Latin America. If the European Union had stepped in when it should have, the CAR would perhaps not be the catastrophe it is today.

“Neglect of the poorest countries is a very foolish thing to do,” he said. “And that’s what we [in Europe] did the last decade.”

The EU can also help Africa by giving African countries privileged access to its markets. In return, according to Collier, the bloc should demand these countries to open up their borders to trade with their neighbors.

Click the above video for more of our interview with Collier.

Devex was at the European Development Days 2013. Check out our coverage of Europe’s leading global development event of the year.

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.

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