Dear Bono…


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I am afraid that your energies have been misdirected when they are used to advance an aid agenda that is based on two obsolete and counter- productive premises: first, that aid for Africa must be spent in Africa rather than outside it and, second, that we must work to increase aid flows to a target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product…

In a recent interview, you said that you expected your music would endure forever but poverty would have ended in a hundred years. I wish you good luck on your music. But not even a hundred years would suffice to end poverty if you fail to correct your course.

A letter from Jagdish Bhagwati to Bono in the Financial Times. Bhagwati preaches focusing attention on ‘absorptive capacity.’ He also argues that absorptive capacity is far less of a problem if increased aid for Africa is spent outside the country - for example, on vaccines and AIDS research.

Update: More Bhagwati on development in Global Agenda. And Owen Barder questions many of Bhagwati's points.

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