More Dutch aid for food, less for health

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The Dutch government has announced plans to improve food security in developing countries. The foreign affairs ministry has pledged 275 million euros for investment in water management and food supply over the next five years.

But the money has to be found within the existing development aid budget – Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which supports the government from parliamentary benches, wants to cut development aid drastically.

The government has already agreed to cut back development aid by 18 billion euros. Mr Knapen has decided to invest less in education and health in the developing world.

Global issues, global solutions Speaking at a conference in Amsterdam today, Development Minister Ben Knapen outlined proposals in conjunction with Dutch businesses for a global approach to food scarcity.

“Global issues like climate change, food shortages and financial instability are screaming for global solutions. Governmental authorities can’t solve all these problems on their own. The business sector is an indispensable partner in development cooperation.”

The minister added that economic growth is key to the fight against poverty. Without it, there are “no jobs and no income tax.”

Investment with private sector Minister Knapen is making 55 million euros available for small to middle-sized businesses which are willing to invest in developing areas over the coming four years. The fund set aside specifically for infrastructure will be increased from 140 million euros to 180 million euros.

Altogether, the budget allocated for development aid for investment with the private sector will be increased by 300 million euros to a total of 900 million euros.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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