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Welby: ‘Aid truly works'

19 April 2013

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has defended government aid-spending, particularly in areas of conflict-resolution.

Archbishop Welby made his comments in a blog, in response to criticisms of a letter signed by 80 religious leaders urging the G8 group of world leaders not to delay funding the Millennium Development Goals ( News, 12 April).

Archbishop Welby said that he did not dispute claims that "most aid money gets wasted or sucked up by corruption, and that developing countries are much better helped by growing trade", but he said that critics often "ignore the many instances where aid truly works, especially in vulnerable conflict and post-conflict situations".

"I, too, object to any wastage of taxpayers' money," he said. "When our troops were sent into Sierra Leone in 2000, they were, of course, enormously effective in helping sort out a crisis. But a military initiative of that kind costs millions of taxpayers' money. Far smaller sums, invested earlier, have enabled nations to avoid conflict, and hence avoid the costs and dangers of sending in our armed forces."

He likened conflict resolution to vaccination: "Skipping the injection may save you £3 per person, but the moment they start getting rushed through the hospital doors, that amount starts multiplying."

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