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Poor Governance Is No Excuse For Withholding Aid

Recent improvements in health indicators in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “[i]n no small part, … are connected to the rollout of basic health services,” even at a time when the country’s economy is shrinking and its population is growing, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, writes in his Foreign Policy column.

“Health and education together accounted for around $9 per year per person – less than 0.3 percent of what the U.S. government spends per citizen on health care alone. That meager expenditure, augmented by aid and the limited private resources available to individual citizens, was enough to provide a level of health and schooling considerably better than would be expected by far richer countries only a few years ago,” he writes, concluding that Congo’s success “is a refutation of the idea that we should wait to improve lives, or focus on sustainable development, until bureaucracies function with clockwork efficiency and the rule of law is universally applied” (6/20).