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The mystery of development

2005 was a big year for international development. But there are strict limits on what outsiders can do to help poor countries. People develop themselves with the help of functioning legal systems and states

By Robert Cooper   February 2006

If governments live up to their promises, global aid volumes should rise to $125bn a year by 2010. The EU is committed to delivering half this increase to Africa. This can only be welcomed. But since we are now going to put so much more into development assistance, it is a good moment to ask what exactly development is and how this money can best be used.

The first thing to understand is that money does not make you developed; perhaps it does not even make you rich. If money brought development then Saudi Arabia and Angola would be developed…

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