Quick comment: Development budget blues
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Economist was right to highlight criticism of "the money [the Department for International Development (DfID)] gives NGOs for nebulous-sounding work on 'advocacy' and 'raising awareness' ". (Foreign aid in a recession, 22 October 2009)
This government organisation will have squandered over £1 billion on such vague activities by 2011, with little evidence of benefit to poor people around the world.
Much of this money never even leaves the UK. Instead of buying essential medicines or food, it is disbursed, with little accountability, to further the campaigning of large NGOs and even some trade unions at home, as detailed in our recent paper, Fake Aid.
Worse, many of these campaigns work against the foundations that have been demonstrated to lift people out of poverty: trade and the rule of law.
The massive growth of foreign aid in recent years has not been matched by a similar rise in accountability and efficiency. Whoever wins the next election should tie DfID’s spending far closer to the evidence.