Monday, 1 September 2008

Tracking the effectiveness of aid in Africa

Immersion fellow; Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, spotlights the agenda of the conference on aid effectiveness in Africa, which opened today in Accra, Ghana

With few exceptions, many countries in the continent of Africa pine under the yoke of poverty such that they relish the handouts from donor-nations and other institutions who are magnanimous enough to part with a penny here, a nickle there.

The situation is so pathetic that most of these affected countries cannot imagine surviving a day if the donors fail to honour their pledges to them as and when due.
On the other hand however, there is the unending contention of whether aids and grants from these donor-agencies have translated to improved standard of living for the people of Africa. Critics have particularly argued that aid to Africa has been largely wasted through corruption by a callous system.

The foregoing issues are part of the agenda of the proposed Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Africa which begins today Monday, September 1, 2008 in Accra, Ghana to end Friday, September 5th, 2008.

The conference which is being hosted by the government of Ghana will be attended by ministers from over 100 countries; heads of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, donor organisations and civil society organisations from around the world.
Their common objective is to help developing countries and marginalized people in their fight against poverty by making aid more transparent, accountable and result oriented.

Specifically, the Third High Level Forum in Aid Effectiveness will seek to review progress improving aid effectiveness, broaden the dialogue to newer actors, chart a course from international action on aid effectiveness, among others.
Besides, ministers and agency heads are expected to consider and endorse the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) to deepen implementation of the Paris declaration and respond to emerging aid effectiveness issues.

The AAA has been drafted through a broad-based process of dialogue at both country and international levels, carried out through the work of WP – EFF and its joint ventures, regional preparatory consultations with the various partner countries.

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which predates the Accra Agenda for Action expresses the international community’s convention on the direction for reforming aid delivery and management to achieve improved effectiveness and results.

The Paris Declaration which is grounded on five mutually reinforcing principles namely, ownership, alignment harmonization, managing for results and mutual accountability suggests ways by which countries can exercise effective leadership over their development policies and strategies and coordinate development actions.

The conference, according to the organizers promises to be intellectually engaging judging by the caliber of brainstorming sessions and different levels of interfaces to be held.

* By Ibrahim Yusuf

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