3 Responses

  1. Peter Zoller
    Peter Zoller April 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Why has aid improved since the end of the Cold War? For a start, financial transfers could no longer be justified as a means of supporting allies in the Cold War. As a former diplomat with postings in devdeloping countries, I can recall being told not to highlight aid wastages that could jeopardise transfers that were buying continued support from governing elites or, even worse, were financing their armies to fight proxy wars.

    Most of all, the need to retain friends meant that the quality of recipient country governance could never ever be mentioned. In fact, seriously bad governance was often defended as “necessary” for stability or as part of a transition to democracy – which never came.

    So, with the end of the Cold War and the need to respond to positions such as that of Senator Jesse Helms who had described aid as “money down a rathole”, more attention had to be given to what made aid effective. Progress has been slow – other national interests still distort aid (e.g. when there is a Security Council seat to be bought), incentives for aid officials are skewed away from progress in meeting the needs of the poorest and, although we now know that good governance is important, we can’t agree on just what is “good”. For a long time, we thought it was the Washington Consensus. Some people still think it is…

  2. Ryan Flynn
    Ryan Flynn April 8, 2011 at 2:21 am

    You’ll find ODI’s Development Progress Stories interesting (www.developmentprogress.org). While not specifically aid focussed, the stories what has worked in development and why.

    Also, Charles Kenny talking about his book at ODI can be found here.

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