Sachs’ Plan to Eliminate Poverty

The New York Times writes about Jeffrey Sachs’ plan:

Ever the macroeconomist, Sachs is in the process of calculating exactly what it will require to do them. Adding the costs of basic infrastructure, health care and primary education, among other things, he estimates that it will take about $100 per beneficiary per year for Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals in the next 10 years. He figures African governments and households can kick in about $45, and donors already contribute about $10, so that leaves $45 more per person. On a global scale, meeting the goals would require about $150 billion of development assistance per year. If that sounds like a lot, it’s still less than the 0.7 percent of G.N.P. a year that donor countries have repeatedly promised, most recently in Mexico, where in 2002 they signed the Monterrey Consensus pledging ”concrete efforts” toward that goal. (Despite recent increases, the United States still spends under 0.2 percent of its G.N.P. on foreign aid — less than any other wealthy industrialized country.) ”You can’t have a civilized world in which the rich aren’t even willing to live up to this tiny commitment,” Sachs says. ”We’re talking about less than 1 percent,” he adds, a statistic that seems to astound him. ”It’s stunning.”

Sachs isn’t just expecting rich nations to fork over the cash, though. He’s traveling the world to rally poor countries to draft plans showing what they need and how they’ll spend it. Hunger, for example, can be eliminated with the right science and technology, he says, which can be purchased with foreign aid. So in July, Sachs convened in Ethiopia a United Nations conference on hunger to persuade African leaders to see it that way. Ambitious as ever, Sachs aimed to start an African ”green revolution.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.