Atlantic-community.org members agree that the focus on aid to Sub-Saharan Africa should be directed towards increasing effectiveness. There is a strong consensus that corruption and lack of accountability are two of the biggest obstacles to improving aid effectiveness. Aid ultimately needs to put Africa’s future and development in the hands of its people. To address issues of transparency, a comprehensive online index of aid effectiveness needs to be established. At the same time, donors and recipients need to prepare for aid exits by building local economies and infrastructure and working more closely with African citizens and governments.
organizations need to publish an online index of aid effectiveness.
Atlantic-community.org members cite poor measurement of aid activities and lack of definable and determinable goals and strategy as serious impediments to aid programs (Wathne, Rusila). While there is an abundance of information on how much money is devoted to aid, there is very little accessible documentation specifically on how aid money is spent and on the results of aid programs (Theiler, Rusila). For this reason, an online index and evaluation that details aid expenditures and the outcomes of programs should be established based on the model of recovery.gov, a transparency measure by the US government that tracks how 787 billion dollars in stimulus money is being used (Barder). This online database would publish information on how individual countries, international organizations, and NGOs allocate aid funds. It would also chronicle the outcomes of these investments. Doing this would hold aid donors and recipients accountable to those they are serving. A system of effective selection would be created wherein programs that do not produce results either adapt or get phased out (Barder).
It would be great, if together we could make these good policy recommendations even better and more concrete.
What criteria should be used to measure aid effectiveness?
How can bilateral donors, international organizations, and NGOs collaborate to create a comprehensive and accessible global aid quality index?
2. An aid exit strategy should be a part of the planning process.
Aid at its current levels is ultimately unsustainable for both donors and receivers. Donors cannot afford to write blank checks to Sub-Saharan governments, and if African nations hope to break the chronic cycle of underdevelopment, they must lead their own development (Adams). An aid exit strategy that would reduce aid to levels of "self-help" must be implemented. In this capacity, aid agencies would give funding to country-led programs (McPherson). African governments would be readily accountable to their citizens and would be required to take initiative in increasing economic development (McCabe).
What can donors do to encourage more local leadership?
How make the aid exit a smooth transition?
What kind of programs and projects would best train citizens?
3. Aid programs must amplify and incorporate African voices.
The designing and implementation of aid programs is too often detached from the people they are trying to help (Arsene). To circumvent the challenges that inefficient and corrupt governments pose to development (Brett), aid donors should work to empower citizens by getting their direct feedback and making alterations to aid programs accordingly (Rusila). Donors should invest in programs that focus on job creation (McCabe) and building infrastructure - both objectives are part of the important task of promoting eventual self-sufficiency. Similar to the Recovery and Reinvestment Act established in the United States, donors need to focus on small public works projects (Weiss). This would empower Africans by providing them with employment opportunities and giving them a stake in their future. Most importantly, this would assist the aid exit strategy by giving citizens the expertise and management capabilities to lead themselves.
To reverse the negative consequences of the "brain drain," bilateral and multilateral donor organizations should consult with Africans living outside of Africa. Members of the African Diaspora have critical insight into the challenges on the continent from their combined first-rate education and their intimate knowledge of the challenges to African nations (Zachary). A fellowship should be established that would give Diaspora Africans an economic incentive to apply their education and skills gained from living abroad towards addressing the challenges that African countries face.
How specifically should donor organizations be working with people on the ground to create more tailored and effective programs?
Of course, we would also appreciate other policy recommendations to make aid to Africa more effective.
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