Steps NAM Countries Should Take To Alleviate Poverty

At the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955, the Non-Aligned Movement was born out of a cohesive approach by stalwarts like India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indonesia’s first President Sukarno and Yugoslavia’s first President, Josip Broz Tito. Also known as NAM, it was established as an inter-governmental organization of states which do not consider themselves aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. With the promise that it would strive to bring about stability in national security, integrity, peace and economic development, it brought hope to the developing nations.

In 1960, at the Fifteenth Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the fledgling movement received a shot in the arm by the addition of 17 new Asian and African countries. The organization, a much stronger embodiment now with 118 members has waged a ceaseless battle throughout the years for the welfare and empowerment of its member countries.

Economic emancipation of its members and strengthening the international socioeconomic developmental structure has been on its agenda for years. Since its inception it has worked relentlessly in its mission to alleviate the debilitating global economic situation and relieve nations from the blight of poverty and hunger.

Time and again it has held numerous conferences to provide the developing nations with a pragmatic and efficient course of sustainable action that will help in channelizing the resources to assuage the hardships caused by poverty. Through coordination and cooperation amongst its member countries the Non-Aligned Movement has continued to work hard to eradicate economic disparity and bring about a financial stability and equality.

Illiteracy is one of the causes which has exacerbated the impoverished condition of the underdeveloped nations. Therefore education is a fundamental requisite for the advancement of any nation as well as to free itself from the grip of extreme poverty. Education should be provided free which would assist the poor in becoming more skilled and marketable for labour.

Giving property rights to the poor is another way of fulfilment of a nation’s financial stability. By receiving property, the poor can start fixing their own financial situation themselves and thereby obliterate the need for their dependence on the state’s welfare. Self-sufficiency is one of the first steps towards attainment of a nation’s economic betterment.

In this respect, aid from the wealthy is equally indispensable. It can be of income grants or low interest loans or can come in the form of property financing. Help from the more fortunate is absolutely crucial for upliftment. Political leaders have constantly underlined the necessity of closer cooperation to erase out the inequalities still existing among the NAM countries.

At the NAM Business Forum held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2003, the erstwhile Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad urged other nations to adopt the “prosper thy neighbour” policy. Under this policy, the wealthy countries aid the poorer nations in the upgradation of their living standards. The wealthy countries also benefit the aid creates potential markets there for the richer country products. According to the Malaysian PM enriching the needy ones is not charity but self interest which in turn helps the larger global cause – alleviation of poverty.

At the Forum, former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee spoke in favour of imposing the Tobin Tax on international capital flows. The Nobel Prize winning US economist James Tobin proposed the Tobin Tax first in 1978 where he suggested minimal tax on foreign exchange transactions that would ultimately help in the prevention of short term currency speculation. Since unstable capital flows can cause impediment of developing economies, Vajpayee believed that international levy was required to regulate such flows. A strong campaigner of the Tobin Tax, Vajpayee had pointed out that studies had shown that an annual revenue of 300 billion dollars could be generated by a token tax of just a quarter percent on international capital flows and thus it would be instrumental in making dramatic progress towards erasure of poverty.

The NAM countries have also noted that enhancement of employment opportunities is absolutely imperative and thus growth of small-scale, traditional and informal enterprises is a true requirement for the accomplishment of their mission. Empowering women is also another essential for the sustainment of economic development. Women, when given education and rights can increase the overall human capital of any country and can bring down the rapid population growth successfully.

Poverty alleviation is thus biggest hurdle for NAM countries. But with proper steps and commitment and dedication from the governments, this obstacle can easily be overcome.


Article is the Sole Copyright and Property of International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies. In case they are used or referred to, please send us a link or copy of the article to: A-2/59, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi – 110029, INDIA or mail it to us at: