UNCTAD to World: Give Us the Money

UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, has a new report out (pdf), Economic Development in Africa 2006: Doubling Aid: Making the “Big Push” Work. From the press release,

…the Report suggests that the time is “perhaps right to revisit the idea, first broached in the 1950s, of a UN funding window” tailored to African development needs. Such an approach “can help to reduce unnecessary and costly competition among donors, and thus greatly reduce administration costs. It can also provide a buttress against the politicization of aid which has been so damaging in the past.”…

Given the basic challenges across the region, much of this initial push will be frontloaded on the public sector where the preferred modality of support from the international community should be in the form of grants to the national budget. These should come with limited conditionality and should help strengthen public sector management…

Africa has received some $500 billion in aid since 1980, around $30 per capita annually, the report notes. Since real incomes fell over this period in many countries, sceptics have raised questions about whether further increases in aid really offer a route out of poverty.

So, aid hasn’t worked in the past, but let’s create a new single fund, managed by UN, “to reduce unnecessary and costly competition among donors”, double the amount of aid, and give more money directly to African governments. Giving more money with limited conditionality will strengthen public sector management.

What will they think of next?


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