This week, the UK’s Secretary of State for Overseas Development, Andrew Mitchell, revealed to this newspaper that his government had chosen Rwanda and Ethiopia to host a new pilot program for development assistance to Africa.
This shift is a turning point as it intends to peg future financial aid to effective and transparent use.
If it succeeds, the new programme will be extended to other African countries; essentially changing how the UK government administers her oversees aid.
The decision to choose Rwanda for the pilot programme speaks volumes. It has been ranked by the UK government and other donor countries as the best country on the continent that has utilized aid properly over the last seventeen years.
For many years, aid to Africa has been a sensitive topic with various forums alleging that aid to developing countries has not been successful in getting the continent out of poverty.
The billions that have been poured in Africa have either ended up in the pockets of a few corrupt leaders or were used to fund irrelevant projects. Instead of improving the livelihoods of the recipients, it has dragged them deeper into destitution.
However, Rwanda’s example indicates that aid spent well changes lives. Rwanda’s model application of aid has tremendously helped improve the health, education as well as other sectors.
Therefore, the UK could not have made a better choice of a model for her new approach to aid and development.