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Foreign aid: More than a check

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How much do rich countries spend on foreign aid?

In the past, if you were to guess a country’s commitment to helping poor countries improve education and health care and respond to natural disasters – among other assistance – that conversation would certainly centre on the amount of foreign aid that the rich country contributes to the effort.

But when you look at what is making headlines – soaring migration, unequal trade, rapidly advancing technology – promoting global development in today's world requires much more than a simple dollar figure. While foreign aid continues to be an important part of the equation, it's also the implementation of policies that promote poor countries' economic development as a whole that defines a country's commitment to international development.

In October, the Center for Global Development presented the findings of its annual Commitment to Development Index (CDI) at the United Nations General Assembly. Looking at countries' foreign aid contributions, the index measures how committed rich donor countries are to tackling global challenges and quantitatively assesses the impacts of their migration, investment, finance, environment and technology policies on outcomes in the developing world. These components, which go beyond a foreign-aid payment, must be part of any true assessment of a nation's commitment to eradicating global poverty.


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