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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EC Aid Defended

Editor:


In your editorial last Friday ("Inefficiencies in EC Aid a Lesson for All"), you echo recent criticism of the EC's humanitarian and technical aid programs. Regarding humanitarian and food aid, I agree wholeheartedly. An 85-year-old friend of mine regularly brings to me for interpretation items he receives as food aid; these have included Ultra Slim-Fast and nondairy creamer in individual packets. These items are of no value to him, and in general the import of food products simply reduces the market incentives for and profitability of local production.


But you also criticize technical assistance programs, and conclude that "studies should be halted and the funds earmarked for them should be spent on implementing those that have already been conducted". In this I cannot agree. While there is no question that the studies are expensive and could be performed more effectively, they are essential and have long-term benefits.


It is true that many recommendations of these studies are not being implemented. The reason is that the Russian economy is not yet reformed to the point that effective implementation is possible. The current political, financial and legislative instability and unreformed enterprises is cause for serious doubts about whether the promised billions can be effectively used.


The many studies that have been performed have provided a detailed understanding of Russia's needs and priority projects.


Furthermore, they are performed with Russians who receive training in business practices for a market economy. This supports the Russian scientific community and helps prepare for the effective functioning of the Russian public and private sectors under market conditions.


James F. Wilson


Moscow