Delegates accuse donors of pocketing Aid, by Arthur Okwemba

In the Aid Effectiveness talks in Accra, Ghana, officials from various African governments are accusing donors of making it difficult for recipients to produce results. The delegates also lament that donor countries and African governments are not being accountable on how aid is utilised.
Several speakers at the 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness said between 60 per cent and 75 per cent of the donor money does not get to the recipient countries but remains in the donating country. “You cannot demand or expect us to produce results or alleviate poverty when only 25 per cent of the donated money gets to us,” says Mr Patrice Bemba, an official from the Ministry of Finance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Mr Bemba, a lot of the donor funds end up as fees and salaries for expats from the donating country. A huge chunk, he adds, is also lost as overhead costs.
“Much of the aid remains in the hands of consultants and companies in Europe, America and Asia, or is just tied aid,” explains Robert Fox of Oxfam Canada and head of Oxfam International delegation to the Accra talks.
“Donors cannot run away from this fact when two thirds of the money goes back to their countries as technical assistance and transaction overhead costs and less than 20 per cent gets to developing countries as aid,” says a representatives from the Catholic and Protestant denominations participating at the forum.
A Kenya government official, who sought anonymity, says that sometimes the donors offer highly- paid expatriates from their countries even in areas that do not need such assistance or where the country has enough local experts.
“In this scenario, the money does not even boost economic growth of African countries as local industries and experts are shunned. Instead, it continues to make companies and individuals in developed countries wealthier.”
“There is no mechanism to ensure that the donors are accountable for the funds they advance to us,” he says.
The delegates demand that donors should live up to the accountable and transparent ideals they preach to African governments and other stakeholders.
Likewise, the delegates have called on donors to fund gender and human rights as part of development and not leave them to the whims of politicians in developing countries.
“Countries and donors should celebrate good results if those results promote gender and human rights,” says Turok.
“Any monitoring and evaluation on aid effectiveness can only be complete if it captures the levels of gender equality and empowerment and human rights issues achieved in the use of donor money,” says Fox. He adds that the only way to make African governments and donors accountable in the way donor money is used, is to strengthen the media, civil society and the citizens by providing them with comprehensive information on donor money.
Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure citizens in Africa and the North are empowered to demand answers from their governments on aid disbursement and use,” says Fox.

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