Thursday, March 12, 2009

Effective Aid

Last month, an online article outlining Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo's argument against foreign aid received a lot of feedback from readers. A few weeks later, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, wrote a response with his opposing point of view. According to Carvalho, foreign aid can help Africa escape poverty, if done correctly. Governments, aid agencies, and the United Nations need to ensure that all aid is well thought-out and pre-planned. A major argument against aid is that governments of impoverished countries are often corrupt, and the money does not go where it is most needed. Ceasing aid, however, will not improve governance. Instead, Carvahlo says, civil society should be nourished and aid should be used to help fight the corruption.

"Having lived and worked in east Africa, I have witnessed the positive effects of aid. But done badly, it can be very limiting and even has the potential to create more harm. To avoid this, it must be provided within an enabling environment in which it is used as a catalyst for change and not as an end in itself. Governments must show leadership through an accountable system," says Carvahlo.
Source: Reuters