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February, March, April and May edition

Letters to the editor

Readers' feedback to the articles of Henning Andresen, Benjamin Luig and Armin Paasch in our March edition, of Bimbola Oyesola in our April edition, of Cletus Gregor Barié in the February edition and of Karim Okanla and Edward Harris in our May edition.

No empiricial evidence

D+C/E+Z 2012/03, p. 124 f., Henning Andresen: “Less is more”

In a rather unfortunate way, your essay confuses the impact of development cooperation (DC) with the impact of other matters that have a bearing on poverty and the lack of good governance in non-OECD countries. This essay is a striking example of the omnipotence fallacy, according to which the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of rich nations, by itself, would steer the development of disadvantaged countries in measurable ways. In reverse, it is then argued that a country’s failure to develop, or at least to develop fast, is rooted in ill-designed DC.

In his assessment of the indeed deplorable state of many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Andresen does not take account of crucial issues. In 2010,for instance, worldwide ODA amounted to $ 128 billion. At the same time, tax evasion and tax flight probably cost non-OECD nations some $ 500 million. The World Bank has been arguing for quite some time, moreover, that unfair terms of trade cost non-OECD nations about twice as much as they receive in ODA.

There is no proof for Andresen’s statement that reducing ODA might “put citizens and governments in developing countries under pressure to take affairs into their own hands.” Studies have assessed countries where ODA has been discontinued such as Zimbabwe, Chad or the Central African Republic, but they did not deliver empricial evidence for Andresen’s thesis.

Christian Wilmsen, Bonn, Germany

Informative and analytical

D+C/E+Z 2012/04, p. 144 f., Bimbola Oyesola: “Urban headaches”

I read and liked your article on infrastructure in Lagos. It is very informative, analytical and well thought out. As a development expert seeking to widen my scope of understanding on real development challenges, I always feel so happy when I read articles like yours. They enrich my appreciation of the real impediments to development in many African countries.

Moses Nasa Asasira, Kampala, Uganda

Forceful headline

D+C/E+Z 2012/03, p. 114 ff., Benjamin Luig and Armin Paasch: “Risks compounded” (on the impacts of financial market speculation on food security)

An excellent contribution – and its title should have been the headline for the entire focus section (instead of harmless “Food security”).

Hans-Ulrich Bünger, Baiersbronn, Germany

A lesson for the world

D+C/E+Z 2012/02, p. 80 f., Cletus Gregor Barié: “Art versus violence”

After a war or some kind of civil disturbance, the rates for homicide, burglary and rape are usually higher in any country. This is because of unlicensed arms and because of frustration felt by former combatants and soldiers. Sri Lanka is experiencing this kind of situation now. The best remedies are to remove illegal arms and occupy the young people in useful work. Arts and sports can be used in the process of building up a good-­behaviour society. The Colombian experience is valuable for the whole world.

Asoka Palamakumbura, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka