What I especially like is that this analysis does not focus only on aid. Too often, we measure the extent of our international solidarity by the amount of aid we give, and not by all the other important things that rich countries do (or don’t do) which affect developing countries at least as much as – probably much more than – giving them money.
Apologies for parochialism, but I was struck that the UK has fallen this year from 6th place to 12th place, out of 22 countries. David Roodman, the uber-geek (and I mean that in a good way) who designed and runs the index, said this:
“The U.K.’s aid giving slowed in 2007, the latest year for which complete data are available, while its exports of arms to undemocratic regimes such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia ticked upward.”
The UK scores in the Commitment to Development Index are depressed by the index’s judgement that there is insufficient rigor in tackling corruption by UK firms operating overseas, a high level of arms exports to undemocratic and poor countries, high agricultural subsidies, tight controls on immigration from the poorest countries, and restrictive intellectual property laws on plant types and data.
Officials from other countries sometimes think the UK is a little too pleased with itself about development. I wonder if they will think that, now that UK finds itself in the bottom half of the league table, having been overtaken by six countries (New Zealand, Spain, Australia, Austria, Finland and Canada), the UK should focus a little more on how its own policies affect the developing world.