[DEBATE] : Ghana: "Nice and fuzzy" conclusion from aid conference
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Mon Sep 8 21:47:20 BST 2008
Ghana: "Nice and fuzzy" conclusion from aid conference
Posted by africanpress on September 9, 2008
Accra (Ghana) - Ministers and senior government officials from around
the world have reportedly agreed an action plan to make the system of
aid more effective after days of hard negotiations that pitted some of
the world's poorest nations against donor giants.
But a negotiator for developing countries who did not want to be named
told IPS the text agreed on was entirely devoid of any time-bound
measurable goals, due to objections from the United States and Japan.
"Whatever we said, they basically said 'no' to it," he said about the
final text of the Accra Agenda for Action — a document that has gone
through at least five drafts and is due to be adopted by Ministers at
the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness on Sep. 4.
"What we have is nice, slightly fuzzy and positive language, but there
is no monitorable timetable-bound commitment."
Developing countries wanted rich donor nations to agree to bring down
conditionalities and phase out aid that is tied to the purchase of goods
and services by 2010.
They also wanted donor countries to make the process of aid much more
transparent than it is now — so that all aid figures were freely available.
But a key paragraph that was deleted from the final text read: "…in this
Accra Agenda for Action (we) are agreeing to a set of accelerated
actions to meet these goals by 2010."
Some 1,200 delegates from 120 countries — representing governments,
non-government as well as donor agencies — have gathered in the Ghanaian
capital for the three-day meeting, called to review the 2005 Paris
Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
Total aid from rich governments and their agencies amount to some 120
billion dollars annually, with private contributions adding another
But neither donors nor recipients are happy with aid. Donors say a lot
of aid goes missing as a result of corruption, while recipient nations
say they dislike conditionalities attached to the money.
Emerging from yesterday's meeting, which ended with a round of loud
applause by negotiators, Levi Oguike, the deputy chairman of Nigeria's
National Planning Commission, said the Agenda was along expected lines.
He said developing countries were not entirely happy with it: "A
recipient country can never be comfortable with aid. You always want to
be a donor."
Neither were some developed country players satisfied.
Stefano Manservisi, Director General of the European Commission, told
IPS/TerraViva, "It's a good balanced text, but it doesn't push hard
enough. The situation requires more than just corrective balance."
Manservisi said he would have liked to see countries pledge themselves
to uniform financial managements systems such as auditing — a key demand
of donor countries.
Malawi's Minister of Finance, Goodal Gondwe, said: "The issue of
ownership was so important to the African group that there would not be
"The present crop of African leaders are educated and know what policies
to follow to bring about development in their respective countries. We
are also aware of corruption and are doing everything possible to curb
it," Gondwe added.
There were also some important objections to the entire process leading
up to the Accra Action Agenda with Prof Yash Tandon of the Geneva-based
South Centre pointing out it was outside the United Nations system and
therefore lacking in legal legitimacy.
API/Source.Inter Press Service (IPS)
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