Posts tagged ‘liberia’

December 18, 2010

At DC panel, lessons from Liberia on USAID’s transparency

Haitian diaspora gathering in Washington, DC, March 2010 -- was that the last one?

Editor’s Note: You require transparency from us but none from yourselves.  That’s the charge leveled at USAID by Liberia’s finance minister (and a couple of other people), at a recent Brookings Institution panel on the lack of transparency among aid organizations. Haiti’s finance minister probably feels the same way.  As poorly as Haiti ranks on the corruption index the US ranks near the bottom in international aid transparency. And what comes out of this panel is that while we’re great at measuring other governments’ corruption, we apparently suck at competently measuring ourselves, the donors.  Read on for the Liberian minister’s edited remarks, which also raise the question, is the Haitian diaspora lobbying Congress to improve USAID?

Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, minister of finance, Liberia I concur fully with the assessment … that aid transparency is a necessary condition for effectiveness…. Liberia is a highly aid-dependent country.  I don’t want to go through the history of civil war, the destruction, and the reconstruction efforts.  As we speak we receive more flows to the country through aid than even our domestic revenue.  [And] although the amount of [aid passing] through our budget [had] been very insignificant–around 2-5 percent–it has gradually gone up to 15 percent.  We are hoping that as we improve our country’s systems, more donors can use them.

Now, [however]… we have a situation where most donors want to use parallel [NGO] systems [and not] government systems.  [But] the parallel systems [have to] give us better development outcomes … otherwise, the moral justification of using the parallel system does not exist.

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May 13, 2010

DH is reading…

about land, what else?  Until the Haitian government makes deals with private landowners to free up space for evacuees, all the complaints about tents, proper housing and the coming rainy season won’t mean much.  Consider: tent cities turn into long-term cities and folks riot if they think land’s being unfairly appropriated.  This March article provides an excellent overview of the land issue and identifies key decision-makers. (that’s what journalism does that blog posts typically don’t)

One US think tank advises using food aid money to buy all of Haiti’s rice for the next two years:

International donors have committed $5.3 billion for the next 18 months, or $3.53 billion on an annual basis. The cost of buying Haiti’s rice crop is therefore only 1.8 to 2.3 percent of international aid funds.

And the Haitian government and diaspora could take some cues from the Liberian government, which is working hard at tapping its diaspora for development.

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