McPherson: Aid Exit, a Step to Achieve Progress in Africa

Harvard Senior Research Associate Malcolm McPherson is offering an aid exit strategy to remedy what he described as sub-Saharan Africa’s aid addiction: incrementally reducing foreign aid until it reaches just 2 percent of a country’s gross domestic product.

At that level, he said, aid is “high enough to allow critical, nationally-requested support to be provided, but small enough so that it does not dominate the local agenda.” McPherson believes applying this to Africa’s “aid junkies” would improve aid efficiency.

He, however, conceded the task would be no cakewalk.

“Governments would have to tax appropriately and spend efficiently; they would have to ensure their exchange rates encourage exports so that the trade account could swing into surplus; and they would have to promote agricultural and rural development so that the country could become food self-reliant,” McPherson wrote in an opinion piece for Atlantic Community. “Most important, they would have to use the foreign assistance they receive to supplement rather than supplant local efforts.”

About the author

  • Tarra Quismundo

    Tarra Quismundo joined Devex Manila as a staff writer in October 2009 after more than six years of working as a reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a nationwide daily, for which she covered major breaking news in politics, military, police and international affairs. Tarra's Devex News coverage focuses on key Asian donors and top aid officials around the globe.