Posts tagged ‘ronald baudin’

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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June 15, 2010

Best opportunity ever: the diaspora, land and public service

The highlighted green portion above, about 20,000 acres, includes Corail-Cesselesse, one of the newer camp settlements outside P-au-P central

In my periodic search for news about the most consequential issue for Haitians–right after emergency food and medicine–I came across an Ansel Herz article and as luck* would have it, a 7-year project begun pre-earthquake, to modernize Haiti’s land registry.  (Gotta love the Internets.)  What follows are highlights, particularly as they relate to the diaspora.  The big question, always: how can members of the Haitian diaspora facilitate the development of Haiti?  From my perspective, I say, prioritize.

No population relocation, urban planning, transportation planning, infrastructure design, agricultural or tourism development, environmental recovery, or investment attraction will be possible without updated cadastral information….Property taxes cannot be collected…[foreign investment] will not arrive without the security provided by a modern cadastre and land rights infrastructure….

If your thing is women’s rights and safety, you’ve gotta be about the land. If your thing is providing good medical care in Haiti, you’ve got to be about the land.  If your thing is harvesting Haitian souls for the Lord, you’ve got to be about the land.  If your thing is healthy and educated children, you’ve got to be about the land.  If your thing is alms for the poor, you’ve got to be about the land.  As far as I’m concerned, the desire to resolve land rights is the measure of a humanitarian’s genuine interest in building a sustainable Haiti. Everything else is either short-sighted or ego.

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