This is all well and good. But only citizens of a country have the sovereign prerogative to make their own laws and policies, including redistribution policies. For some reason, many of us engaged in the international development
business appear to forget this. The good news is that the situation is gradually changing. Citizens of "poor" countries are increasingly re-asserting their sovereignty over their nations’ policies. Like their counterparts in richer countries. And they are doing so through elections (since political parties are a summary of policy options) and civil actions. To ignore the agency of citizens of poor countries as in the proposal for a Global Social Protection Fund, is a big mistake.
I have not seen any strong and persuasive argument for a global social protection fund. And there is no reason to assume that citizens of poor countries want it. In my view, it will be one more avenue through which obnoxious
policies will be imposed on poor countries. And could be, like the Global Fund another avenue for allegations of corruption against countries. Rather than create yet another fund with all the difficulties that its implementation will
raise, efforts should instead be focused on how best to assist countries manage their new found mineral wealth. Recent advances in mining and drilling technologies have made (or will make) many of Africa's poor countries immensely rich. For these countries, what is required is better contract terms with oil and mining firms and better management of revenues, not yet another “global”
institution that reinforces their constructed status as poor. Through better management of their mineral resources and revenues accruing from them as well as through enhancing regional trade integration, citizens of these countries, rich
and poor alike, will improve their material circumstances. There is need to temper the urge that sees the creation of new “global” institutions as the panacea to poverty.
Chief New Technologies and Innovation Section
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Addis Ababa.