New Directions for Canadian Development Assistance

+ Brandon Fuller

Canadian development assistance should reflect the central role that cities will play in the growth and development of less developed regions – places where Canada can not only help to improve governance in existing cities but also start new ones. That is the case that Brian Lee Crowley makes in a recent oped in the Ottawa Citizen.

Simply moving a worker from a developing country to a developed one like Canada or the U.S. increases their earning power several times over. Moving from chaotic disorganized societies to ones with strong institutions such as functioning infrastructure, police, courts and the rule of law is the most powerful anti-poverty tool there is. But not everyone can change countries.The central development challenge of the coming decades, then, will be to help developing countries establish well-functioning cities. Simply moving from rural Mexico to Mexico City or backwoods Philippines to Manila will increase each person’s standard of living, but far less than it might. That’s because these places don’t have those strong institutions that allow people to get the best value out of their skills and abilities.

Crowley’s think tank, the Macdonald Laurier Institute (MLI), recently released a report on charter cities and the RED project in Honduras here.

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