A Better World – overseas aid policy

 

Sir, – Following the budget decision last autumn to increase overseas development expenditure by more than €110 million, the new policy, A Better World, represents a clear-eyed commitment by our Government to some of the poorest and most vulnerable on the planet.

We welcome the renewed commitment to reaching the target of investing 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas development by 2030.

At Self Help Africa, we are heartened too that the new policy recognises the changing context of global cooperation, and acknowledges that within this new dynamic it cannot be business as usual, with official development assistance being the only solution to the challenges of extreme poverty in the world.

In sub-Saharan Africa, private and blended finance is playing an increasingly important role in development finance, and private enterprise investment is vital if employment and new markets are to be created within Africa for the continent’s rich agricultural resources.

A Better World points also to how knowledge transfer from the experiences of the Irish farming sector can contribute a great deal, in supporting successful agri-business development in poorer regions of the world.

Farming remains critical to the future economic growth of sub-Saharan Africa, and the new policy’s recognition of the importance of smart investment in sustainable agriculture, of strengthening agri-food value chains, and of the vital role that women must play in the sector in the years ahead, is to be welcomed. – Yours, etc,

RAY JORDAN,

Chief Executive,

Self Help Africa,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Ireland welcomes the publication of the Government’s new policy for international development, which sets out the priorities for Ireland’s aid spending going forward. We were, of course, pleased to see the policy launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, himself a former VSO Ireland volunteer, who understands the importance of development from first-hand experience.

Ireland is a small country and we cannot achieve everything on our own. We can, however, lead and the Government’s commitment to reaching the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income between now and 2030 is commendable, especially at a time when few other countries are committing to doing likewise. – Yours, etc,

GARY DOYLE,

Country Manager,

VSO Ireland,

Dublin 2.