Delegates representing the African Francophone bloc are meeting in Kigali to discuss aid effectiveness ahead of a major summit in South Korea, focusing on aid, later this year.
Rwanda is widely regarded as Africa’s economic miracle and an inspiring model for aid effectiveness in the developing world, based on the fact that the country has effectively utilized aid to post remarkable economic achievements since the devastating effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In recent years, development aid has come under the spotlight with many scholars and pundits alike pointing to the fact that there appears to be nothing much to show for the trillions of dollars in aid money the continent received over the decades. Indeed, in much of Africa aid has hardly changed the livelihoods of the ordinary people for the better.
Rwanda’s experience, and indeed that of other countries where aid has brought about a significant change in the lives of the people, has proven that lack of political will in recipient countries has rendered much of development aid ineffective.
For instance, it is not rocket science to understand that countries with high levels of corruption will squander whatever money – aid or not – or that where institutions and bureaucrats don’t play by the rules, results will be hard to come by.
As long as there are no concrete measures on the part of the recipient country to ensure that it delivers the intended results, aid will always be misused and stolen by individuals in high places, and this will only help widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
To address this challenge, proper coordination, planning and accountability mechanisms are of utmost importance. While the ultimate goal for African countries should be self-sustaining economies, they need an unequivocal political will to translate aid into real results.