IN OTHER WORDS : Start fresh

It took five African presidents to get President Bush to finally face up to the dismal performance to promote development in poor countries. Within days, the White House reported the resignation of Paul Applegarth, the chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, who managed to find only two countries worthy of aid — $108 million to Madagascar and $215 million to Honduras. Last week the presidents told Bush that the bureaucracy made it impossible for them to get aid. To see just how badly the programme has performed, compare it to the Fast Track Initiative for financing education, which is run out of the World Bank. Through the Fast Track, rich countries have actually given money to 12 countries. During the first three years, donors shifted about $905 million in foreign aid to the qualifying countries for primary education. This is a good time to make a fresh start, and demonstrate to the world that America can still be a moral leader. It means lobbying hard within the administration for more money for development initiatives. And finally, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel. One reason the Fast Track Initiative got going quickly was that it did not waste years in assembling a staff of neophytes who narrowly defined strategies for growth to fit their ideological bent. — The New York Times