Waylaid Dialectic

February 15, 2011

The Hidden Enemies of Aid

Filed under: Aid — terence @ 1:29 pm

As far as far as the forces of darkness go he’s an innocuous looking chap. No fangs, no cape, no WMD. And yet he’s probably responsible for more failed aid projects than anyone else.

Who am I talking about? William Easterly? Jeffrey Sachs? Mobutu Sese Seko?


Far worse than all of these, and somewhat less dramatic, our enemy here is nothing more than humble ‘end of financial year’ (EoFYr). A date, not a person; a deadline, not a tyrant. And yet an awful lot of aid projects are worse than they otherwise might have been, and a whole heap of ill-advised aid spending exists which otherwise might not of, because of aid workers trying to beat the financial year’s end. It really doesn’t help that the complicated world of aid is too often bisected by one particular day of reckoning.

Now there’s a project for an aspiring PhD student: figuring out how to liberate aid from the shackles of the calendar…


1 Comment

  1. This thought seems to be bubbling up in a few places at the moment – the tyranny of the EOFY is a good way to put it. See also http://is.gd/PyR79P.

    At the end of the day (for institutional/government funded projects) you can’t get away from annual appropriations cycles within donor governments themselves, and the tendrils of accountability that reach into our brains, or procedures, our deadlines, outputs from there.

    Comment by Cynan — February 23, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

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