This morning at the Clinton Global Initiative, Governor Romney spoke about his foreign aid policy, as covered by the NY Times Caucus. Without much surprise, Mr. Romney stated that, “he would make foreign aid conditional on progress,” but did not go into much detail on regions or if current forms of aid would be cut. His three step process is on addressing humanitarian needs, acting on US interests abroad, and creating long-term progress through assistance. So does Governor Romney believe in the poverty trap?
The current views of Mitt Romney match the republican perspective that free market is the best thing for development. What many experts on aid belief is that to kick-start the economy properly, even with a free market system, a great flow of funds towards either government programs or entrepreneurs is necessary. “Mr. Romney said his aid proposal would focus its efforts on small and medium-size businesses abroad, using microfinance techniques.” Microfinance techniques indeed have a positive history of bringing families, (if not whole regions), out of poverty, suggesting that Mr. Romney’s plan may be a very good thing and does indeed sound like a kick-start. If he stands by this promise for aid, the US government under a republican administration will still be supportive of developing nations abroad. But by focusing on solely Microfinance techniques, would he cut different kinds of aid, such preventative medicine, family planning, and disaster relief? Most likely. Supporting microfinance gets a thumbs up. Aid conditional to progress gets a thumbs down, due to the fact that it leaves those who do not quickly show advancements, the ones in the most need, behind.