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I submitted a Freedom of Information request with the Department for International Development (DFID) last month. I’m asking for the Memorandum of Understanding between DFID, the Government of Tanzania, the Serious Fraud Office and BAE Systems, and related budget details. (See here and here for some background).
The government legally has to respond within 20 days – the deadline is tomorrow. Continue reading →
Presidents Kikwete of Tanzania and Banda of Malawi
President Joyce Banda of Malawi is in a pickle. A corruption scandal has emerged on her watch, and she’s under pressure from all sides, quite possibly through no fault of her own. In fact, it may even be the case that she finds herself in this mess precisely because she has done something not far from the right thing.
So what happened?
A few weeks ago, an environment ministry official was found with £190,000 in the boot of his car, then the Budget Director – said to be on the verge of blowing the whistle – was shot three times outside his home. According to the Telegraph (not my usual source, but they were given an interview by Banda), 68 people have been arrested in the ensuing investigation, including the Ministers of Finance and Justice. The Minister of Justice has been charged with attempted murder of the Budget Director. The President has cleared out her cabinet, and said that about 30% of the country’s budget could have been stolen over the past decade. Thirty percent. Continue reading →
In particular, this post will mostly look at what the report says about Tanzania. But first, some more detail on the report as a whole.
The report details aid flows from traditional donors, of course, but also goes much further – looking at private investment, loans, remittances, aid spending by NGOs and non-traditional donors, for example. And as the chart below shows, these other sources of funds now dwarf aid (official development assistance, or ODA).
The story centres on a refugee camp just inside Ethiopia’s border with Somalia – Dolo Ado. Or to be more precise, it centres on two American inhabitants of Dolo Ado – Jon and Mary-Anne, employees of Oxfam America and the fictional World Aid Corps respectively. Each lives apart from their partner, leaving space for a will-they-won’t-they relationship to emerge between them. Continue reading →
Making aid more accountable is a worthy goal. So is building support for public spending on international aid among citizens of donor countries. But a new proposal with precisely these goals in mind risks disempowering the very people aid is supposed to help.
The proposal, which goes by the title Opening Aid Policy, is to give British citizens – call them taxpayers or voters if you prefer – a chance to shape British aid policy: first to determine aid priorities and then even to cast their vote on which specific projects should get funded. Continue reading →
ODI have published a new political economy analysis of WASH, based on case studies of Sierra Leone and Vietnam. Great, I thought, the sector has long been dominated by engineers and administrators whose ideas of how planning should work tend to be limited to top-down blueprint planning, an injection of political economy thinking could be very useful.
But I’m very disappointed with the paper. For one thing, it comes across as having been put together by folks with little or no prior understanding of the water sector. For example:
The research project results suggest that there are two key distinctions that are relevant when carrying out PEA in the water supply and sanitation sector. First, the distinction between water supply and sanitation: Continue reading →
Globally, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water supply has been met. A new report from UN Water, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, launched this week, reported that 89% of the world’s population now has access to water from an improved source. This has quite rightly been a cause for celebration and media coverage (see here and here from the (UK) Guardian, and from the BBC), a rare good news story.