New Internationalist

The Facts

February 1981

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EXPERTS[image, unknown] The Facts

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Experts come under the 'Technical Assistance' heading of aid budgets. They include secondary school teachers on two-year contracts as well as high-flying economists on three-day missions.

Most technical assistance is `bilateral' - direct from one country to another. The United Nations is the biggest employer of experts for `multilateral' aid to poor countries.

Experts tend to go wherever political influence - past or present - is greatest or most sought after. And jobs in education usually take the biggest slice of the budget.

On average experts account for one-fifth of all aid flowing from rich to poor countries, much of it coming straight back in salaries and fees.


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Breakdown of British technical assistance by sector

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Source: British Aid Statistics, ODA, 1980

A developing country with many foreign experts indicates either a lack of indigenous skilled personnel or an eagerness to accept overseas influence. Curiously enough, Libya despite its rhetoric of self-reliance, has far more foreign experts per head of the population (80 experts per million people) than any of the countries listed alongside.

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Source: Management Information Services, UNDP

The top five destinations for experts from selected countries

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Sources: OECD; and National Foreign Assessment Center, CIA

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Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 096 This feature was published in the February 1981 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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