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Mail & Guardian (SA)
July 06, 2007
While the developed
world has not yet lived up to its commitment to give 1% of its GDP
to the developing South, aid flows have increased since 2000, when
the pledge was renewed at the United Nations Millennium Summit.
A Southern Africa Trust policy brief, Aid
Effectiveness: Trends and Impacts of Shifting Financial Flows to
Civil Society Organizations in Southern Africa, which assesses
aid effectiveness in civil society, confirmed the trend.
Southern African Development Community region, in particular, aid
volume to civil society is increasing substantially but is difficult
to quantify due to the limited classification of aid by donors as
it relates to the definition of civil society," says the report.
effectiveness in the region is vital because money is increasingly
going to new aid recipients including Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition,
flows to the region are likely to slow in 2007 and 2008. "Survey
data from the Africa Partnership Forum indicates that the increase
in aid allocations to Africa over the next two years will be very
modest. Another disturbing feature of the new aid . . . is [that
it is] really not new aid, but tied to cancellation of debt."
While this poses
a challenge to civil society dependent on aid, the report notes
that new forms of revenue are making up the gap. Foreign direct
investment is up substantially, while remittances from migrants
are of growing importance to national balance sheets. In addition,
South-South trade and investment is growing too. " . . .
financial inflows from countries such as China, India and Brazil
are becoming significant and growing rapidly" says the report.
the report points to what it calls a new architecture of aid patterns.
Increasingly, donors are pooling support into national and regional
intermediaries; multiple funding agencies are more common, as are
new support models; funds are going directly to civil society where
governance is weak and international NGOs are increasingly a conduit
for northern governments' aid efforts.
The focus on
aid effectiveness is part of civil society's effort to ensure
that it has a booming voice in policy formulation across Southern
found that business organizations have a greater voice in policy
formulation than civil society.
study covered seven countries and sought to identify the obstacles
on the path to provision of effective aid. It found that:
- Access to
aid flows is a key challenge for most of civil society because
of an increasing concentration of resources in fewer recipients;
aid required better operating system. "More aid does not
necessarily translate into more effective aid if operating systems
and capacity constraints are not addressed";
- Too much
harmonization can affect the diversity in civil society; and
- Civil society
should cease to be seen as a last resort for aid disbursement
where governments have failed - instead it must be seen
as a key player in the development process.
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