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New Paths for Leadership in International Development

The UK should be proud of the tremendous progress its development leadership has brought, and that more governments are increasing their contributions to the cause. But the UK should also continue to advance its work in this area, building new partnerships with other donor countries, particularly in the Middle East.

SEATTLE – Official development assistance (ODA) helps to save lives, build more stable and safer societies, and project soft power around the world. That is a point that my boss, Bill Gates, drove home recently, when he addressed the United Kingdom’s leading military and security thinkers at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Bill had been asked how he would respond to anyone in the UK who felt “demoralized” by the fact that Britain is one of only a few countries that meet the United Nations-mandated commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income on development aid. But highlighting the impact of British ODA was just part of the answer; Bill also emphasized the many other countries that are also meeting their aid commitments.

In Europe, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, and Sweden have been meeting the UN threshold for a while, and Germany recently joined their ranks. France is not there yet, but it is increasing its contribution.

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