Poverty Eradication and economic development

Press Freedom for Development

Poverty eradication depends upon improving economic conditions. Studies have found a relationship between higher levels of press freedom and better performance on the Human Poverty Index and higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita–perhaps because press freedom supports regulatory quality and helps guarantee an economic system in which rule of law governs. Studies show that African countries with a free press have relied on significantly less foreign aid as a percentage of GDP than countries without a free press.

Those countries with a free press tend to be more conducive to business, render entrepreneurship less financially risky and lower start-up costs for businesses, and are more integrated in the global financial market. One recent study found that countries with a free and open Internet, which is linked to press freedom, are better off economically regardless of their stage of economic development and that restrictions on the Internet increase the risks and costs of doing business. Free and independent media have also been show to improve political risk conditions in African countries, and therefore “strengthening the media sector is an important strategy for politically unstable countries.” Press freedom is also associated with higher literacy in Africa, which in turn is an important factor in maintaining democracy and contributing to the knowledge economy.

In highlighting the role that domestic resource mobilization plays in financing development, the Open Working Group underscored the importance of rule of law and strengthened governance institutions in combatting illicit financial flows, tax evasion and ensuring productive investment.