Aid donors and other external agents could usefully engage more actively with developing country elites in defining national anti-poverty strategies. This does not depend on those elites being altruistic or especially ‘pro-poor’. Elites have some self-interest in reducing poverty.
They are more likely to appreciate, explore and be willing to act on that self-interest if they are sympathetically and constructively engaged in drawing up policies designed to reduce poverty, and in shaping the ways in which they are labelled and justified. History supports this case. Contemporary elites in developing countries are in some ways more likely to be ‘pro-poor’ than nineteenth century European elites and in some ways less so.