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Free trade, not foreign aid, is the best route out of poverty for poor countries

Commenting on the report on foreign aid released yesterday by MPs on the International Development Committee, Prof Philip Booth, Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, says:

“The International Development Committee makes some very important points about the provision of foreign aid to fragile states. It is certainly true that both the risks and the potential gains from providing aid to such states are enormous. However, past attempts to make aid conditional upon reform have not been successful. It has often led to reforms being promised in return for aid again and again without any meaningful reform actually happening.

“The government should consider cutting its aid programme dramatically and only providing aid to support on-going programmes of reform. Aid in general has a very poor record. Governance reform, trade and transnational investment are the best routes out of poverty for poor countries.”

To arrange an interview with Prof. Philip Booth (Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs) please contact Nick Hayns, Communications Officer, 020 7799 8900,

Notes to editors

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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