Funding the global humanitarian crisis

As the UN asks for a staggering $20bn in humanitarian funding, some of the leading donor states share their thoughts on the future of the sector:

United Kingdom (Desmond Swayne, minister of State and lead for Department for International Development) – The UK is leading the way as the third-largest donor in the world to emergency appeals. But we need other donors to step up – the UN appeal for Syria, for instance, is only 49% funded…. The international community as a whole needs to address the growing gap between humanitarian need and resources. … Unfortunately, humanitarian need is increasing, fueled in part by the consequences of conflict. The number of people affected by crises around the world has almost doubled over the past decade, and over 90% of people in extreme poverty are living in countries that are politically fragile, environmentally vulnerable or both. To meet these challenges head on, we have refocused half of DfID’s budget on supporting fragile and broken states and regions to tackle many of these issues at the source.

Norway (Børge Brende, minister for foreign affairs) – I’m very concerned about the widening gap between humanitarian need and funding. Norway is one of the world’s largest humanitarian donors, per capita. We increased the humanitarian budget this year and will further increase the budget substantially for next year to respond to the increasing needs. A major part of this funding goes through UN appeals. … However, we cannot depend on a continuous increase in funds. We need to develop better ways to use our set of resources more effectively. We must also be able to think long-term in humanitarian efforts, and focus on resilience to shocks in development assistance. Prevention of conflict and crisis through mediation, human rights, democracy and good governance is essential and also more cost-effective than emergency assistance.

United States (Spokesperson for USAid, the US government’s development agency) – The US is the world’s single largest humanitarian donor. In the fiscal year 2015, the US Agency for International Develepment (USAID) and the Department of State provided more than $6bn in life-saving humanitarian assistance. … Given the rising needs in long-term protracted humanitarian emergencies such as Syria and South Sudan, new humanitarian emergencies in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and the anticipated preparation for and response to El Nino-related disasters, the United States expects its humanitarian resources to be stretched in the coming year.

Sweden (Isabella Lövin, minister for international development cooperation) – We are the fifth biggest bilateral donor in the world and we expect to give at least as much as we gave last year, and probably more. Our concern is that so many other countries don’t live up to the aim of giving 0.7% of GPI to development aid. Also, it’s not just about how much you give, it’s about how much you give that’s un-earmarked. Sweden is a big donor of un-earmarked funding, and that means that it’s much more easily available for humanitarian organizations like the UNHCR, and can be used immediately to respond to a crisis. That makes it much more valuable funding, and we’d like to see other countries giving more that’s un-earmarked.

+  +  +  +  +   +  +  +  +  +  +

Unparalleled challenges require new and innovative solutions. Next year, the UN will be holding its first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. The hope is that this will serve as a forum for change, where countries can come together with solutions to improve the humanitarian system to meet the challenges of today and the future.

[The Guardian]

British aid to India ends this month

After decades of giving millions of pounds to India for various projects, Britain’s traditional aid program to India will end this month and move to a new relationship that focuses on pro-poor private sector projects and technical assistance.

Ending aid to India in 2015 was announced by the secretary for International Development in November 2012 amidst growing demands that an economically-challenged Britain should stop giving aid to a country that had its own space and nuclear programs.

Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has stopped approving new financial grant aid to India. All new programs will be either technical assistance or private sector initiatives financed using returnable capital; and working together on global development issues.

After 2015, DFID said its technical assistance and returnable capital program will focus on three thematic areas: urbanization, economic development and empowering women and girls, which reflect the Government of India’s priorities.

Britain spends 0.7% of its gross national income on international aid.

[Hindustan Times]

Less than 2% of all humanitarian funds go directly to NGOs

The humanitarian sector took a hard look at itself in Geneva last week, and the picture was not quite the heroic, saintly image it would prefer to see. Less than 2% of all humanitarian funding goes directly to local NGOs, despite them taking the lion’s share of the risk and often being better placed to deliver, according to aid insiders.

Stephen O’Brien, the head of United Nations humanitarian affairs, told a conference in Switzerland that aid delivered by local agencies was often faster, cheaper and more “culturally appropriate”. O’Brien said, “In Syria, the Arab Red Crescent risked their lives every day to help. In west Africa during the Ebola outbreak, community leaders succeeded where international actors had failed.”

But despite years of discussion about the issue, almost all aid funding continues to flow to the large international agencies; a situation that is increasingly embarrassing for the sector.

One campaigner from the global south said: “Please don’t keep telling us that we need to build capacity; it’s insulting and patronizing. It’s an old-fashioned, colonial viewpoint. These organizations are run by people with two PhDs, they are not stupid. Just assume that the capacity is there and fund us properly.”

Sean Lowrie, of the Start Network, which brings together international and national NGOs for humanitarian response, said the current model was not working. “We’re still working in an old-fashioned, centralized, top-down system, which believes in the fallacy of control. We’re stuck and we’re not talking about the real issue, which are incentives, behavior and governance. What we need is a whole new eco-system of smart humanitarianism, which responds to what is needed, which is flexible and diversified, and which is financed in new, smart ways.”

[Read full Guardian article]

Nobel winner Angus Deaton and the impact of foreign aid

Earlier this month, Princeton’s Angus Deaton was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences—an award richly deserved for Deaton’s path-breaking work on consumption, poverty, and welfare.

Much attention has also been given to Deaton’s much more controversial opinions on foreign aid, and his arguments that aid does not work, and that it can accelerate corruption and keep bad leaders in power. Of course, the evidence on aid is not definitive. Partly that is because aid for different purposes has different impacts in different country contexts. Still, a growing body of recent evidence tends to show a net positive impact of aid on development.

The United States has led the way in supporting efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, and deaths have fallen by more than one-third in just seven years. Malaria deaths have dropped in half since 2000, again in large part due to the President’s Malaria Initiative. Tuberculosis infections have fallen by 25 percent just since 2002, and the world is on the brink of eradicating polio once and for all. Donor-financed programs helped increase the number of children receiving basic vaccinations from 20 million in 1980 to 200 million today, and in reducing deaths from diarrhea from 5 million to less than 800,000 children a year. Remarkably, the rate of child death has fallen in every single country in the world since 1980—there are no exceptions. Leadership and hard work in developing countries deserve much of the credit, but these gains would not have happened without foreign assistance.

Aid has also supported progress in education, especially girls’ education. In Afghanistan, less than 1 million children attended schools in 2002, and almost all of them were boys. Girls and women were excluded. But since then, the Afghan government, USAID, and other donors have built more than 13,000 schools, recruited and trained more than 186,000 teachers, and increased net enrollment rates to 56 percent. Just one decade later in 2012, there were 8 million children in school—more than eight times more than in 2002—including 2.5 million girls.

More contentious are the debates about aid and economic growth. But even here the pendulum has swung, with more evidence that aid has a modest positive impact on growth.

[Excerpts of Brookings Opinion by Steve Radelet]

Going Above Two Percent Giving

Charitable giving has been stuck at 2 percent of U.S. GDP for 40 years, ever since we started measuring it. And in a world of increasing demands and ongoing fiscal belt-tightening — a world where government looks unlikely to step back in to support needed social programs — the nonprofit sector fundamentally has to contend with this fact: two percent just isn’t enough.

So what can we do in response? Basically, we have to do three things: 1) work to increase the amount people give, 2) make the most of every penny we get, and — crucially — 3) go beyond giving entirely.

Number 1 is the work of expert fundraisers, though it’s also the work of everyone else in the social sector. For one thing, we can encourage more giving by being better storytellers. We need to learn to express more clearly and creatively the problems we seek to address and the successes we are having. Too often nonprofit appeals and reports are wonky, overly complex, and just plain boring. Boring doesn’t inspire giving — great storytelling does.

Number 2 is the core work of most of us with jobs in the nonprofit sector, from the folks doing their best to deliver impact to the funders who support them. Rewarding organizations for under-investing in people, technology, effective management, and infrastructure is dumb.

And that brings us to number 3: getting beyond giving. At the end of the day, we are unlikely to get where we need to go merely by getting people to give more. While traditional donor-supported activities are critical to having large-scale impact, alone they probably won’t get us where we need to be. Many of our biggest challenges will require financially self-sustaining solutions. And we can find those solutions in at least two areas.

First, a growing pool of nonprofits employs business-like practices to sustain themselves. Second, as a century of American philanthropy has demonstrated, much of our best work is done when it’s in our economic self-interest. Whether by supporting socially-driven start-ups through impact investments or encouraging socially-driven innovation at major corporations through our purchasing power, we can move forward farther with the business community alongside us.

[Huffington Post]

Countries with booming economies still need foreign aid

Excerpts from Bill Gates:  When world leaders recently gathered in Ethiopia] one important issue that didn’t draw much attention … is how we treat countries that have built strong enough economies to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, but which still have a lot of people who are barely getting by.

The system of development finance currently used by many donor governments and international financial institutions allocates funding to countries based in significant part on their average income per person. As economic growth moves countries like India and Nigeria into the “middle-income tier,” they become ineligible for many of the grants and low-interest loans used to fund basic infrastructure and essential services. The problem with this is that huge pockets of poverty still exist in many of the countries facing a cutoff of funds. In fact, more than 70% of the world’s poorest people live in countries defined as “middle income” by the World Bank.

Clearly, a nation’s access to the most favorable financing for development should taper off as the level of personal income grows. But if we make countries with high levels of inequality and poverty ineligible for aid too soon, it will become increasingly difficult for them to continue on a path of economic growth.

Based on current trends, our foundation estimates that countries such as India, Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam could lose between 18% and 40% of their funding from donor countries and multilateral aid programs. Cuts of this magnitude would have a severe impact on basic health and social programs that rely on donor funding to operate.

If we are intent on helping the world’s poorest lift themselves out of poverty, we need to ensure that development assistance reaches people in need, regardless of where they live. The classification of countries based mainly on average income should be updated to incorporate other measures centered on improving the human condition such as better access to health services and education. And we need to think about the right incentives and approach for a thoughtful and smooth transition for each country to reach self-sufficiency. Read more  

Indian billionaire has given 39% of his company stake to charity

Wipro chairman Azim Premji, who is India’s top giver, has given away an additional 18% of his stake in India’s third largest IT services company to his foundation.

“Over these years, I have irrevocably transferred a significant part of the shareholding in Wipro, amounting to 39% of the shares of Wipro…” said Premji in a letter to the shareholders.

Premji had previously given away 21% of his stake, worth $4.3 billion, to the eponymous foundation. He has allocated an additional 18%, taking his total contribution so far to 39%, according to the company’s 2015 annual report.

Premji set up the Azim Premji Foundation in 2001 to focus on philanthropy and improve the country’s school system, signed a giving pledge in 2013 along with philanthropists such as Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates among others.

The 69-year-old has been gradually transferring his shares to the foundation over the last five years—in 2010, he transferred 9% of his shares worth $2 billion, and followed it up with a 12% share transfer in 2013 worth $2.3 billion.

The foundation works in eight states which together have more than 350,000 schools.

[Hindustan Times]

International aid agencies gain unexpected help from corporate sector

With more refugees in the world today than any point since the Second World War and as Western governments like Canada slash spending on foreign aid, aid agencies are increasingly looking for help from an unlikely quarter: the corporate sector.

And sometimes solutions are developed directly at the request of aid agencies. That’s what happened when Télécoms San Frontières approached the Vodafone Foundation four years ago to build a “network in a box” for deployment following natural disasters such as the recent cyclone in Vanuatu and earthquake in Nepal.

That invention, a complete mobile network that comes in three simple boxes, has led to changes for the refugee community as well.

“As a humanitarian program, we are trying to reach the most vulnerable people,” said Oisin Walton, the instant network roll-out manager for the Vodafone Foundation. “After discussions with UNHCR on how we could better support them, we found that education was a key area we could contribute in.”

The result is the Instant Network School Program, tablet-based classrooms in refugee camps where students and teachers can spend a few hours every day for an interactive education.

The program debuted at the Yeda refugee camp in South Sudan in 2013 and 16 classrooms are now up and running in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya.

Over the next two years, UNHCR and the Vodafone Foundation hope to expand the program to 33 schools in these countries plus Tanzania, serving an estimated 60,000 refugee students.


The derailing of the U.S. Agency for International Development

USAID’s capacity is on the cusp of crisis: Its staff is divided between veterans who are aging out and greenhorns, with too few in the middle. From the standpoint of national capacity, America has a development donut. And it’s a problem that so far has gone all but unnoticed by policymakers or the public.

Since 2009, USAID has witnessed about a 16 percent real drop in funding while its partner across the Potomac, the Pentagon, fought a successful campaign to limit decreases.

Over the last two decades, about one-third of USAID’s professional staff, according to the U.S Global Leadership Coalition, has gone away, leaving it more or less a contracting office for NGOs, who are fortunately doing much better aid work than before. But there’s only so much even they can do, given their likewise limited economies of scale — which is one reason a leading global power has an international development ministry to begin with.

At a briefing delivered at the National Defense University in April, USAID’s human capital and talent management staff reported that its agency has about 10,000 personnel total worldwide. Just fewer than 4,000 of these, however, are Foreign Service officers or civil servants — the professional core of the agency. The remainder consists of non-American subject matter experts making up approximately 80 percent of overseas staffing, in addition to contractors.

What really limits America’s capacity, however, to foster its long-term international standing and national security is a cavity of human capacity right in the middle of the organization. Over 50 percent of the agency’s professional workforce — its institutional memory — is now past retirement age. Over 70 percent of the remainder has less than five years of experience. That means a serious shortage of seasoned staff in a middle management mode — and a dearth of future, seasoned senior leaders.

USAID has made significant strides in effectiveness, and doing a better job of demonstrating return on investment, as its annual performance reports have shown since 2007. There are still improvements to be made, but despite those made so far, Uncle Sam’s development arm is still atrophying. Not that anyone seems to care.

[Excerpts of Foreign Policy article]

How $168 billion in development money flows around the world

You’d think that most foreign aid would be reserved for the world’s poorest countries, but that’s not actually true.

For example, according to the advocacy group ONE, the U.S. only gives one-third of its foreign aid to the least developed countries in the world.

This is the kind of information you can unearth with a new tool, called D-Portal, run by a U.K. nonprofit called Development Initiatives. The site tracks development aid flows around the world, showing which countries are donating and receiving money and how it’s being spent. It shows the U.S. gives the most aid every year ($27 billion in 2013 or about 16% of the global total), followed by Japan ($24 billion) and the European Union ($16 billion).

The site uses data from the International Aid Transparency Index and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and gives a sense of whether inbound resources are leading to positive results. It’s a useful tool: You can create country profiles showing income and spending and see how countries are performing on several development metrics (e.g. the number of residents who still live in poverty).

In a recent report, Development Initiatives said many social programs are severely under-funded in developing countries. Across all least developed countries, only 20% of costs are financed.

[Excerpts of Co.Exist article by Ben Schiller]

UK’s foreign aid wasted on countries that don’t need it?

Britain should give a bigger slice of its international aid to the poorest nations, say campaigners.

Just 38% of the £12billion aid budget went to the 48 least developed countries last year, said development pressure group One.

One believes that if every donor country boosted the share earmarked for the poorest countries to 50%, an extra £24billion would have been available to those who need it most.

Critics have accused the UK Government of showering cash on countries which do not need it, in a bid to meet a target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid. Campaigners believe the money should be better targeted.

One also wants a bigger focus on women and girls in developing countries, with a Poverty is Sexist campaign backed by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban.

One’s global policy director Eloise Todd said: “We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people, especially girls and women.”

[The Mirror]

Canadian foreign aid to remain at 2003 levels?

In the 528-page Canadian federal budget released Tuesday, there was one notable absence: any figure for foreign aid.

Aid groups can only hope that the foreign aid budget will remain flat. “We’re assuming that it’s currently frozen,” said Fraser Reilly-King, a senior policy analyst at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. “It could be frozen, or it could continue to decline.”

Since 2011, Canada’s aid spending has dropped by $660 million — almost $200 million more than the 2012 budget projected, according to the CCIC.

The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) calculates the foreign aid spending by 29 wealthy nations and reported earlier this year that Canada’s aid budget as a proportion of its Gross National Income has dropped to 0.24 per cent. Only three years ago, it was 0.34 per cent of GNI — a drop of almost a third.

The last time Canada’s aid spending was this low was back in 2003, just after the Millenium Development Goals were adopted.

[Toronto Star]

The United Arab Emirates recognized as the world’s top humanitarian donor

The United Arab Emirates has been named as the world’s top humanitarian donor of the year 2013, after it offered 5.89 Billion US dollars in foreign aid that year, reaching out in more than 140 countries around the world through 38 donor groups.

The announcement was made by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization dedicated to promoting policies which improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The Committee noted in its yearly report that up to 93 percent of the UAE’s foreign aid were in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA), making 1.33 percent of the country’s Gross National Income.

The more than 140 countries benefitting from the UAE’s foreign aid disbursements in 2013 included developing nations in Africa, and countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that have been strongly affected by turmoil in the past few years, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

The UAE is home to the International Humanitarian City (IHC), a Dubai-based logistics centre for the distribution of humanitarian aid which hosts more than 50 non-governmental organizations and commercial entities, among them the Global Logistics Service of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who are all involved in the delivery of aid during crises and for long-term development purposes.


USAid suspends contractor ‘International Relief and Development’

The United States Agency for International Development announced Monday that it had suspended one of its largest contractors, International Relief and Development, a nonprofit group based in Virginia, because of questions over oversight of its spending, a significant amount being in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The agency would not say specifically what it had found, but deemed the findings serious enough to suspend the group from receiving new contracts.

“U.S.A.I.D. has a zero-tolerance policy for mismanagement of American taxpayer funds and will take every measure at our disposal to recover these funds,” said Benjamin Edwards, a spokesman for the agency.

The suspension came after years of criticism that the agency had provided little oversight of its contractors. The group also came under fire last year after a Washington Post investigation raised questions about the millions of dollars in bonuses it had awarded to members of the family that founded the group.

International Relief and Development is one of the largest recipients of grants and contracts among nonprofit groups that work for the agency. It gets most of its funding from the aid agency, having received $2.4 billion from it since 2006. Among its other services, the group builds roads and clinics and works with farmers to increase food production in developing countries. It works in more than 40 countries.

 [New York Times]

Nordic humanitarian initiative in eastern Ukraine

The Nordic foreign ministers decided to provide early assistance to Ukraine in the field of humanitarian reconstruction and energy efficiency. The aid is to be made available for the affected and vulnerable regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, including the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

“It is vital to assist the local population and internally displaced people, and thus to start a normalization process in these parts of Ukraine”, the foreign ministers of the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland said.

In the first instance, the Nordic initiative will address key social infrastructure such as schools, kindergartens and health centers, and possibly also damaged housing in certain cases. Funding of EUR 2 million will be available for this purpose in 2014, with further allocations in 2015.

This Nordic initiative will cover only a small part of Ukraine’s reconstruction and energy efficiency needs. The intention is to start a process that may expand during implementation and that could be linked to Ukraine’s national programmes and other international assistance.

USAID announces more assistance grants in West African fight against Ebola

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced nearly $142 million in humanitarian projects and grants to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The announcement brings total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Ebola crisis to more than $258 million.

“Stopping Ebola in West Africa will require a significant international effort, and the United States urges our global partners to provide additional assistance to help bring the outbreak under control,” said Shah. “We are helping affected countries gain positive and strong momentum by the day, but much more must be done to win this fight.”

The new projects and grants will support:

  • Construction and support of additional Ebola treatment units in partnership with the affected countries and international organizations;
  • Training and support for health care workers and safe burial teams;
  • The Government of Liberia’s strategy to establish and staff community care centers, which, in tandem with Ebola treatment units, will provide another level of Ebola isolation and care to communities while helping to break the chain of transmission; and
  • Critical logistics support for international partners working in West Africa.


A big step forward for Chinese philanthropy

The billionaire co-founder of has set up charitable trusts ahead of the company’s highly anticipated IPO, a move that could mark the start of a new era of Chinese philanthropy.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, along with current CEO Joe Tsai, said Friday that they have established two trusts funded by share options worth about 2% of the company. The philanthropic effort will initially benefit environmental, medical, education and cultural causes in China, according to a statement.

Ma said he established the trusts because “concern and complaints cannot change the current situation. … We must assume responsibility and take action to improve the environment that our children will inherit,” he said.

The establishment of the trusts makes Ma one of China’s first billionaires to set up a major philanthropic endeavor, and puts him in the ranks other successful executives who have pledged large portions of the fortunes to charity. Three of those — Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — praised Ma’s decision.


On World AIDS Day December 1

Since it was founded in 2002, the Global Fund has been a leader in the world’s successful response to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. All told, its efforts have saved nearly 9 million lives. The Global Fund also plays a key role in helping developing countries change the course of these three epidemics.

For example, when people have early access to HIV testing and treatment, they not only save their own lives but they dramatically reduce their chances of infecting others. Moreover, a simple preventive procedure like voluntary medical male circumcision lowers a man’s chance of acquiring HIV — and potentially transmitting it to his partner — by about 60%. Overall, effective prevention and treatment programs have helped reduce new HIV infections by a third since 2001.

That last number is crucial, because preventing new HIV infections is absolutely essential to ending AIDS. Developing a vaccine to prevent HIV remains critical, and scientific researchers are achieving exciting breakthroughs. In the meantime, we need to develop new technologies that women can use to protect themselves. Condoms are a great way to prevent the spread of HIV, but they require the cooperation of both partners.

The Global Fund doesn’t just provide money for pills and other health products. It channels its resources into training new generations of doctors, nurses, and health care workers. It helps developing countries build stronger health systems. This approach guarantees that the money donors invest in the Global Fund has a long-term impact on overall health and quality of life in dozens of countries.

Put simply: The Global Fund isn’t just one of the kindest things people have ever done for each other — it’s also one of the smartest investments the world has ever made.

[Read Bill Gates full opinion piece

Giving Aid to Poor Countries

When polled, the American public agreed with the assertion that “taking care of problems at home is more important than giving aid to foreign countries.”

But this does mean that Americans think that no aid should go overseas?

When respondents were asked what percentage of their tax dollars that go to help poor people at home and abroad … should go to help poor people in other countries, the response was 16%. (Down from a 22% response in a 1996 poll.)

Strikingly, this turns out to be a far higher percentage than is currently given.

The year this poll was taken, only about four per cent (4%) of the total spent went toward causes that in any way benefited the poor abroad. (Nowhere near the above 16 – 22%.)

Budget perceptions: Program on International Policy Attitudes “Americans on Foreign Aid and World Hunger: A Study of U.S. Public Attitudes,”.

Africa still needs aid

Views by Bob Geldof, musician, member of the Africa Progress Panel chaired by Kofi Annan, and a businessman and campaigner against poverty: 

With the U.K. becoming the first G-8 country to spend 0.7 percent of its gross national income on overseas aid, the government’s recent budget was an exciting moment for the international development community.

But with extreme poverty falling all around Africa, and the continent’s mineral resources providing more revenue now than international aid, some observers are asking whether international aid is out of date.

Africa needs trade, not aid, they say. In truth, however, they still need both.

Africa has the world’s fastest growing population, expanding by more than 20 million every year, and must create jobs fast to keep its unemployment rate from rising. Some analysts highlight the Middle East, where failure to generate enough jobs for young, urbanized populations had catastrophic consequences for political and economic stability.

Trade – in its broadest sense – will create the jobs that Africa so badly needs. So Africa’s leaders must identify and nurture labor-intensive industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and hospitality in order to create more jobs. This belief in trade is entirely consistent with a profound respect for aid. I have learned that one begets the other.

The 2005 Gleneagles G-8 summit, for example, brought debt cancellation and increasing levels of aid that helped to school tens of millions of children and triggered an intellectual stampede that is propelling at least some of Africa’s rapid economic growth. Today, Africa has some of the world’s fastest growing economies and foreign investors are tripping over themselves for a slice of African profit.

Almost two dozen of Africa’s 54 nations have now reached middle income status, and more undoubtedly will do so by 2025. As noted by the World Bank’s lead economist in its Nairobi office, if sub-Saharan Africa were a single country, the World Bank would already classify it as middle-income, with an average income of more than $1,500.

But Africa, like every other continent, needs its aid. Away from the investment analyses and high growth headlines, some 40 percent of Africa’s one billion population still live on $1.25 per day or less.

Trade, jobs, and opportunities remain critically important for Africa.