Development aid – knowledge more important than money
In some countries aid should be phased out or decreased. There are countries ready to take greater responsibility for their own development.
Other countries, many of them in Africa, can’t do without aid for now.
But aid needs to change. It should be more country-oriented, recognising that development largely comes from inside. Where and how this support can be of use, varies from country to country.
From a distance it is difficult to see the African ways beneath the surface. Unless the donors go there and walk there, they don’t have the knowledge about how Africa works and the social systems and networks present.
Often donors are trapped in their own policies and views on what a poor nation needs and how much money should be made available. The challenge is to find the balance between what countries in the South request and believe foreign players can contribute with, and the donor organisations’ impact agenda.
The best results have been achieved when aid has been spent to speed up development policies that the recipient country already has decided to carry out and have the capacity to do. When outsiders decree the solution and pour in money, most aid is wasted.
Donors together with representatives in the host country should plan together where aid should intervene in development. A ‘diagnostic’ approach to development means to determine where the greatest barriers to development lie in a country.
The donors should not become a key actor in policy making, but be allowed to propose and present ideas.