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Corruption and Aid Outrage


January 2, 2014

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Aid Outrage

According to the 'bastion' of British journalism, the Daily StarCorrupt dictators funded by £11.2bn of UK taxpayers' cash from Helene Perkins This seems to be part of the aid outrage: "why is so much going to corrupt foreigners and so little spent at home?" It gives the tantalizingly misleading impression that aid spending is orders of magnitude larger than reality.


Corruption Narrative

The fuel for this outrage is corruption. And, providing a tenuous link between aggregate aid and dictators. For example:

"War-ravaged Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have also been given millions. The shock findings came as David Cameron hit his aid spending target."

How exactly is this a shock? Does Ms. Perkins think that one should have a war in Afghanistan and not attempt rebuilding? Should the UK not provide any humanitarian assistance in Libya or Syria? Is Ms. Perkins completely ignorant of UK aid policy? (i.e. more focus on humanitarian aid and post-conflict countries).

Ms. Perkins asserts that "a study from Transparency International (TI) said the cash was being siphoned off by some brutal regimes."

What study is this? We all know that there is aid money that goes into the pockets of elites in developing countries. There is a far cry from "some" to "all" aid money. There is a difference in corruption related to the type of aid and how the aid is disbursed. That, apparently doesn't matter to the corruption narrative.

Ms. Perkins goes on to talk about Somalia as "one of the worst governed" countries in the world. Exactly how does she propose that governance in Somalia is to be improved? Magic? Or, perhaps governance assistance. Yet, the African Development Bank has found that Somalia has made significant governance progress in 2013.

The blatant editorialing continues with about the  "whopping…£107m  to South Sudan whose president is the fearsome General Salva Kiir Mayardit." Is Ms. Perkins afraid of a man wearing black hats? 

As Aid Effectiveness Improves despite Narrative

Aid effectiveness is improving thanks to increased aid transparency and the use of big data analysis. It's exciting times for aid effectiveness where analytical tools are debunking myths like those espoused by Ms. Perkins. It's creating action such as in the World Bank reorganization to better share good aid practices around the world.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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