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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June 2005, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
The Aid Trap
First broadcast June 2005
The kind of poster seen all over Monrovia, Liberia

In the run-up to July's G8 summit Britain is calling for the world's richest nations to treble the amount of development aid. But is Aid really a solution to the causes of poverty?

Many economists challenge the idea that aid offers an escape to the poverty trap. Some say it may even create a trap of dependency and corruption all its own. We visit the two poorest countries in the World, according to the United Nations, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Part 1: Liberia

Just emerging from civil war, Liberia is now home to the world's largest UN peacekeeping operation.

Liberia is defined by the United Nations as one of the world's poorest nations.

With hundreds of thousands of people still displaced from their homes, and elections due later this year, the aid effort is currently focused on disarming and stabilising the country.

But is the rule of the gun simply being replaced by dependency on international hand-outs?

And is the interim government exploiting the aid for its own short-term gain?

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