Aid: what do the numbers tell us?

 

 

Last week The Guardian run a story on aid transparency following the latest report from Aid Transpareny  Index Publish What You Fund

Here are resuts

 

DONOR SCORE
1. U.S., MCC VERY GOOD
2. GAVI VERY GOOD
3. UK, DFID VERY GOOD
4. UNDP VERY GOOD
5. World Bank, IDA GOOD
6. Global Fund GOOD
7. AfDB GOOD
8. Canada, CIDA GOOD
9. Sweden, Sida GOOD
10. AsDB FAIR
11. IADB FAIR
12. EC, ECHO FAIR
13. EC, DEVCO FAIR
14. EC, FPI FAIR
15. Denmark, MFA FAIR
16. Netherlands, MFA FAIR
17. EC, ELARG FAIR
18. New Zealand, MFAT FAIR
19. U.S., Treasury FAIR
20. Germany, BMZ-GIZ FAIR
21. UNICEF FAIR
22. U.S., USAID FAIR
23. Germany, BMZ-KfW FAIR
24. Australia, AusAID FAIR
25. UN OCHA FAIR
26. UK, FCO POOR
27. U.S., Defense POOR
28. IMF POOR
29. World Bank, IFC POOR
30. Korea, KOICA POOR
31. Norway, MFA POOR
32. Ireland, Irish Aid POOR
33. EIB POOR
34. EBRD POOR
35. Czech Republic, CzDA POOR
36. Estonia, MFA POOR
37. Japan, JICA POOR
38. Belgium, DGCD POOR
39. Finland, MFA POOR
40. U.S., State POOR
41. Austria, ADA POOR
42. Luxembourg, MFA VERY POOR
43. Gates Foundation VERY POOR
44. Switzerland, SDC VERY POOR
45. Latvia, MFA VERY POOR
46. Portugal, CICL VERY POOR
47. Spain, MAEC-AECID VERY POOR
48. Japan, MOFA VERY POOR
49. France, AFD VERY POOR
50. U.S., PEPFAR VERY POOR
51. Romania, MFA VERY POOR
52. France, MAE VERY POOR
53. France, MINEFI VERY POOR
54. UK, MOD VERY POOR
55. Slovakia, SAIDC VERY POOR
56. Brazil, ABC VERY POOR
57. Poland, MFA VERY POOR
58. Slovenia, MFA VERY POOR
59. Germany, AA VERY POOR
60. Italy, MAE VERY POOR
61. Lithuania, MFA VERY POOR
62. Cyprus, CyprusAid VERY POOR
63. Bulgaria, MFA VERY POOR
64. Hungary, MFA VERY POOR
65. Malta, MFA VERY POOR
66. Greece, HellenicAid VERY POOR
67. China, MOFCOM VERY POOR

 

As the table above shows donors are rated Very Good o Very Poor according to how transparent they are. In some respects there are no surprises for me with respect to some of the countries that scored very poorly. For instance China does not need an explanation, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, Romania and Latvia are in my opinion new kids on bloc with respect to development and until recently were aid recipients themselves and as such have a lot to learn in this area.

 

What surprises me is that aspects of  France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Luxembourg aid regimes are judged amongst the very poor. These countries  are in my opinion the founding fathers of development aid and have had at least 50 years behind them in international development.  They should be the pillars of Good Practice  with respect to  international development

 

The performance of Nordic countries is worth noting here too,  apart from Sweden the rest do not make into either the Very Good nor the Good categories and yet according to the Development Assistance  Committee (DAC)  there were amongst the five countries that met the UN aid target of 0.7% in 2011; the Netherlands at 0.75%, Denmark at 0.85%, Luxembourg at 0.97%, Norway at 1.00% and Sweden at 1.02%, the largest economy in the world, the United States of America (US), only achieved 0.20% of GNI in 2011, the same as Italy whilst the large economies of Europe, the UK gave 0.56%, France 0.46% and German 0.39% (OECD statistics 2011).

 

 

DAC Members’ Net Official Development Assistance in 2011

2011

ODA

ODA/GNI

USD million

%

Current

Korea

1 328

0.12

Greece

 425

0.15

Japan

10 831

0.18

Italy

4 326

0.20

United States

30 924

0.20

Austria

1 111

0.27

New Zealand

 424

0.28

Spain

4 173

0.29

Portugal

 708

0.31

Canada

5 457

0.32

Australia

4 983

0.34

Germany

14 093

0.39

Switzerland

3 076

0.45

France

12 997

0.46

Ireland

 914

0.51

Finland

1 406

0.53

Belgium

2 807

0.54

United Kingdom

13 832

0.56

Netherlands

6 344

0.75

Denmark

2 931

0.85

Luxembourg

 409

0.97

Norway

4 934

1.00

Sweden

5 603

1.02

TOTAL DAC

134 038

0.31

Source: OECD Statistics 2011: Table 1 DAC Members’ Net Official Development Assistance in 2011

A question arises as to what these countries are hiding.

One of the reasons for this lack of transparence,  in my opinion is  to do with donor interests and motives for giving aid  as well as an issue raised by  the NGO ActionAid UK amongst others that not all aid that is donated is true aid.

ActionAid has argued that most of the aid that is provided is not “actual aid” due in part to the way it is structured, aid includes debt relief, technical assistance amongst other things.

In addition some donors ‘tie’ their aid, which reduces the amount of aid that is available to recipient countries. In practice this means that aid is given on condition that it is used to buy services and goods from the donor country. The effect of this is that the true beneficiaries of such aid are companies and organisation in donor countries.

For these reasons it is to see why some donor would perform poorly with respect to transparency and leads me to another question.

How can corruption be stamped out if donors are not open about what they fund?

 

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Inclusive Business in Africa

Ethnic Supplies was invited to join Business Fights Poverty and the Department for International Development  UK (DFID)  in organising a Practitioners workshop in Kampala Uganda on 10 May 2010.

The aim of the workshop was to bring together International Businesses, Ugandan businesses and Donors to look at some of the innovative ways of running inclusive businesses.  Inclusive businesses are those businesses that incorporate the poor both as consumers and or producers, or if you like they are businesses that look beyond the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

I was a panelist at that workshop and we had a few questions to explore in relation to inclusive business. I will explore  one at a time over the next few posts

Question 1

WHAT ARE THE MSOT IMPORTANT  LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT HOW TO START AND SCALE AN INCLUSIVE BUSINESS MODEL?

  1. The women I work with are  producers in developing economies producing goods for  sophisticated consumers in developed economies and as such what looks good in their workshops/homes does not necessarily translate to commercial success. It is therefore necessary to do thorough market research when selecting products to bring to market
  2. Managing expectations that arise as a result of cultural differences such as time keeping. Whilst here in the West we are used to instant information, timely  deliveries the sense of urgency may not necessarily filter through. In other words whilst producers in the developing economies want access to markets in the developed economies they are not always willing to adapt to market expectations of the developed economies and as such they have sometimes missed out on opportunities to trade with folk in the developed economies.

An example of point 2 : We recently had an opportunity to tap into funding for the benefit of a group of women in Uganda. Part of the of the application criteria to access the funding was that we had to demonstrate that we were indeed working in partnership/ with this group and they were happy for us to apply for this funding on their  behalf. The group was required to send us their accounts and project outline. They confirmed in a telephone conversation that they had this information and would email it through before  the deadline. The deadline for submission of the application was 1/9/2010 and the women sent us their information on 6/9/10. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed by this whole episode, but there we are. All we could say to the group leader was..Oh Well! perhaps there will be other opportunities!

KNOWING WHAT I  KNOW NOW WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?

  1. I am a  strong believer in helping people to help themselves   and as such I believe that information and skills sharing is vital in this area of work to ensure that business in developing economies are ready to supply quality products that the market wants at the right price and on time. I would therefore seek to work with partners with expertise in product development
  2. I would also be more selective when choosing who to work with on the ground as a mismatch of ideals can lead to poor working relations and disappointment on either side

In the next post I will be answering a question on the role of financial institutions in inclusive businesses, in the mean time if you have a view on any of the points raised here please leave a comment

Can Africa grow its own volunteers

This question has been on my mind for sometime now. Due to the current economic environment we have struggled to get volunteers from the traditional sources to out to our project in SW Uganda. I did wonder if Africa could tap into the skills and knowledge on the ground?

The other reason this is on my mind is that the Obama administration’s policy toward Africa appears to be one of tough love. You the Africans have to get your house in order, you need to start trading with each are some of the messages that have come from both Obama and Clinton. I wholly subcribe to that kind of thinking.

I would wonder therefore if folk on the ground will rise to the challenge and form their own NGO’s for instance. Whilst thinking about this idea of “Africa growing its won volunteers” I do wonder too whether it is a question of how voluntary work is organised in Africa. Africans families tend to be very large (extended) and every one helps out including whole villages when required. However voluntary in the western world appears to be orgnaised in what I would describe as a formal structure.

But what about Africans in the diaspora, Could they take time out to go and volunteer in their countries of origin? Certainly this is something that the Department for International development (DFID) is keen to encourage so much so that they have joined forces with the VSO and come up with a whole programmes to encourage Africans in the diaspora to volunteer. I am however not sure how well publicised this programme is.

Have you got a view on this either way? Are you an African that has participated in the VSO diaspora programme? If so how did you find it?

If you are an African that would like to volunteer would you know where to start?

Would you be interested in your views