An international charity calls for…. no more aid?

We don't need no stinkin' aid budget.

I stumbled upon this piece through Dambisa Moyo’s twitter feed, which seems to be entirely dedicated to linking to pieces which agree with her:

My proposal is simple, the Government should stop trying to manage international aid projects but should replace all its international aid with an additional GiftAid supplement for the UK’s International Aid charities. Then the giving public can decide the level and type of international aid, and both government and charities would save considerable administrative costs.

Yes, that’s Andrew Cates, CEO of the international charity SOS Children’s villages, actively calling for the elimination of the entire DFID budget to increase the tax incentives for people in the UK to give privately. It’s such a blatantly self-serving recommendation that I was forced to read it twice just to make sure I understood him correctly. His argument hinges on two assertions: that charities are more efficient than official donors (or recipient governments), and that

The public can choose charity projects which work.

Which, I’m afraid, should read: “the public will choose charity projects which are better at marketing.”

Check this space next week, where I will argue that the UK’s aid budget should replaced with scholarships for young development economists in the middle of their Phds.