Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 24, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

ADDING UP THE MONEY....The Madrid donor conference is over. So how much money did we get?

  • Washington Post: "$9 billion in loans and credits and as much as $4 billion in grants for Iraq's reconstruction during the next five years."

  • New York Times: "at least $13 billion over five years."

  • Associated Press: "around $37.5bn (23bn) in aid and loans."

Compare that to the individual numbers I added up by reading these three stories.

Country

Loans

Grants

Japan

$3.5 billion

$1.5 billion

IMF

$4.2 billion


World Bank

$3-5 billion


Saudi Arabia

$1.5 billion


European Union


$.8 billion

Kuwait

$.5 billion


United Arab Emirates

$.2 billion


Total

$13-15 billion

$2.3 billion

This is ridiculous. Sure, the numbers are probably in flux right now, but the figures from their own stories don't add up to either $13 billion or $37 billion, and the grant money doesn't come close to $4 billion. Can't they even do simple arithmetic?

In any case, it looks like the conference did slightly better than expected but was still sort of a bust: the money is almost all in loans, with only a few billion in outright grants regardless of whose numbers turn out to be right. And that's even after getting a UN resolution and agreeing that all foreign donations would be under the control of an international agency.

Maybe this will get the ball rolling and there will be more donations later. But considering the lack of success we've had even getting Iraq's external debt forgiven, it's hard to be optimistic. It's looking increasingly like we're on our own here.

UPDATE: The LA Times hasn't weighed in yet, but yesterday they predicted that the conference would stump up $20-30 billion. Sheesh.

And one other thing: this was sort of buried, but there were a couple of warnings in these stories that the aid money promised in Madrid isn't all new. Rather, much of it was simply taken away from foreign aid that would have gone to other countries, some of them worse off than Iraq. When all the details are in, I wonder how much incremental money this whole conference will really turn out to have raised?

Kevin Drum 1:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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