Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aid - Time to Rethink Delivery Mechanism?

Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world (only Somalia and North Korea are worse). The international community, including the United Kingdom, pumped billions of dollars of humanitarian and development aid into Afghanistan over the past decade. Unfortunately, a large proportion of this aid found its way to corrupt Afghan government officials, police, and businessmen. Aid was delivered in many instances on the idea of "faith" - that the middleman (Afghan government, Afghan businessman, etc.) would carry out the provisions of the aid program as stipulated. However, much of the aid went in another direction. Cash to Dubai bank accounts, building materials for homes of government officials, and food and supplies to the Kabul markets for sale. Upon reflection, many observers are now thinking that the military is the best mechanism to distribute aid - bypassing the corrupt host nation officials that dilute the humanitarian effect. While the international aid worker community would object, many military members saw the Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) as good organizations that provided a mechanism to get aid down to the province and district level and bypassing the corrupt Kabul government officials. Read more in "Fixing aid: bypass corruption with military precision", The Conversation, November 17, 2014.

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