Les erreurs de l'aide au développement

BOMBAY – L'énorme fossé entre pays riches et pays pauvres reste l'un des grands dilemmes moraux pour l'Occident. C'est aussi l'un des plus grands défis du développement économique. Savons-nous comment aider réellement les pays pauvres ? Dans The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, sonnouveau livre fort bien écrit et trés documenté, Angus Deaton de l'université de Princeton appelle à la vigilance. C'est sans aucun doute le livre le plus important sur l'aide au développement paru depuis longtemps.

Selon lui, l'aide occidentale sert trop souvent à apaiser le sentiment de culpabilité des donneurs plutôt qu'à améliorer la situation des bénéficiaires. C'est particulièrement vrai quand une aide un peu trop naïve renforce un statu quo dysfonctionnel. Même s'il soutient certaines initiatives, notamment celles qui permettent de développer les compétences médicales et techniques, Deaton pose la question de savoir si la grande majorité de l'aide respecte le précepte fondamental du serment d'Hippocrate : "Avant tout ne pas nuire".

Tout d'abord, décider d'une politique d'aide et la mettre en œuvre suppose de développer les outils voulus pour déterminer les besoins prioritaires. Les économistes ont établi quelques indicateurs utiles, mais ils sont bien moins précis que ne le croient les responsables politiques et les médias.

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