The STAR Businessweek

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - FOREIGN AID - BY CHRIS­TIAN WAYNE – ED­I­TOR AT LARGE

The face(s) of in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment fi­nance is chang­ing. Much like the bene­fac­tors them­selves, the modal­i­ties of de­vel­op­ment aid are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly

non­tra­di­tional. The new world or­der is be­com­ing some­what an­ti­quated, de­pend­ing of course, on who you ask. Our tra­di­tional al­lies are at­tempt­ing to be­come more in­su­lar, de­spite the mul­ti­po­lar cur­rent of the world around them. The United States of Amer­ica has fi­nally be­gun to take no­tice of the cor­ro­sive ef­fects of China’s debt diplo­macy, al­beit from a na­tional se­cu­rity per­spec­tive rather than one of neigh­bourly al­tru­ism. Read more on Amer­ica’s plans to over­haul its over­seas de­vel­op­ment aid ac­tiv­i­ties in “US Sen­ate passes $60bn for­eign de­vel­op­ment bill” on page 7.

The United King­dom is also plan­ning (I’m us­ing plan­ning very gen­er­ously here) to re­form the man­ner in which it ful­fills its over­seas aid spend­ing obli­ga­tions by chan­nelling larger por­tions of aid into pri­vate-sec­tor ori­ented ve­hi­cles—some­thing Labour re­cently de­nounced as “an out­ra­geous dis­tor­tion of the coun­try’s over­seas de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme”. Read more in the Fi­nan­cial Times re­port­ing on page 3.

The archetype for 20th cen­tury mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism—the IMF—has even found it­self in an awk­ward ‘Make Amer­ica Great Again’ quandary as it con­cludes its an­nual meet­ings in In­done­sia to­mor­row. With the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s largest fi­nan­cial con­trib­u­tor, the United States, grow­ing in­creas­ingly un­in­ter­ested in de­ploy­ing Amer­i­can tax­payer dol­lars to­wards bail­ing out shit­holes like Pak­istan, the IMF’s lead­er­ship is us­ing these meet­ings to dis­suade MAGA­nauts and other scep­tics of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s

ir­rel­e­vance in con­tem­po­rary geopol­i­tics. De­spite seem­ingly pleas­ant re­la­tions be­tween US Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury Steven Mnuchin and IMF manag­ing direc­tor and chair­woman Chris­tine La­garde, many Wash­ing­ton ob­servers still spec­u­late that the only way to re­ally get Amer­i­can juices flow­ing again is if Ms. La­garde—named the world’s most in­flu­en­tial woman by Forbes in 2016— is able to ef­fec­tively court an in­creas­ingly bear­ish US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the IMF’s value to Amer­ica. That said, aid-de­pen­dent sup­pli­cants like Saint Lu­cia should view the evolv­ing land­scape of in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­men­tal fi­nance as an op­por­tu­nity, not a hur­dle. To quote the 5th cen­tury Chi­nese mil­i­tary strate­gist Sun Tzu, aid-de­pen­dent na­tions would be wise to re­mem­ber that “in the midst of chaos, there is op­por­tu­nity”.

It’s Noth­ing Per­sonal. It’s Busi­ness.

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