Road to prosperity does not go through aid, Mauritius tells General Assembly

25 September 2009
Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

The world’s poorer countries should focus more on devising pro-business policies than relying only on aid if they are to eliminate poverty and register lasting economic growth, the leader of Mauritius told the General Assembly today.

Addressing the third day of the high-level debate, Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam said that while affluent countries must honour their previous commitments on boosting aid and liberalizing trade, developing economies also have a critical responsibility for their fortunes.

“We need to urgently apply ourselves to make pro-business policy reforms instead of just relying on aid,” he said. “That is the way to create wealth and prosperity. Charity is a noble endeavour and is needed, but relying on charity alone is not the answer to future prosperity and opportunity for all.”

Mr. Ramgoolam underlined the need to “unleash the entrepreneurial drive of our people. That is the ultimate answer to the eradication of poverty. We all know that it is better to show a man how to fish rather than give him a fish every day.”

International trade barriers must also be brought down, the President said in his address to the Assembly debate, which is taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

“What the developing countries need is a Marshall Plan with a single coordinated programme. And to qualify, countries need to meet benchmarks for good governance, respect for human rights, accessible health care and education and predictable economic policies.

“Such a plan was successful in uplifting the economies of Europe after World War II. I have no doubt it can be adapted to meet the same measure of success for developing countries.”

Mr. Ramgoolam added that his own country was committed to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the series of targets for reducing social and economic ills which the world’s leaders agreed to work towards by 2015.


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