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Foreign Aid And Corruption

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lindapalmara | 12:23 Tue 26th May 2015 | News
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I know Foreign Aid has been discussed on this forum but this struck a cord with me because of my experience of visiting Skri Lanka 2 years after the tsunami and finding that the Aid sent this country and others had not got past the Politicians. The UK Aid bill is rising faster than any other country in the EU. I read an article at the weekend about all the Fat cat Aid consultants making Billions out of it. Is this time to change?


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Charities such as Oxfam, or the Red Cross, ensure that the money gets to where it can do the most good.
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Where were these agencies when I saw some British Volunteers, funded by a Dutch man, repairing and painting schools in a fishing village? Wouldn't you have thought that in 2 years these basic jobs would have been attended to? Even the fishing boats were provided by a British Charity so that the village could carry on with making a living.
// The UK Aid bill is rising faster than any other country in the EU. //

The UK Aid Bill is tied to 0.7% of our GDP. It rises as our economy improves. While we are near the top, we do not have the highest rising GDP in the EU. Ireland for example is growing faster.
The foreign aid bill is ridiculous. It's so much they can't find enough botox to waste it on and have to call in NGO's to help get rid of it.
It wouldn't be so bad if we had it. We don't, we borrow it with one hand to give out in the other. Who's going to pay? Our grandchildren? great grandchildren?
I love Sri Lanka. When you visit Galle and the area around there the Tsunami damage is heart-breaking...
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Yes it is beautiful but I bet the damage still,hasn't been repaired even after 10 years! I asked these volunteers where the millions people raised in the UK, matched by the Government and they answered that members of the Government are driving big cars and buying big houses!
I flew to Sri Lanka just after the Tsunami hit, and the devastation was appalling – far worse than any television camera could possibly convey. I cried practically all the way on my initial journey along the coast road from the airport at Colombo to my hotel in Galle – which incidentally was built on high rocks so escaped with only minor damage. Upon further investigation and a lot more travel throughout the island it was very clear that foreign charities from around the world were swiftly arriving and were there erecting tents and providing for the needs of the stricken people to the best of their ability. Similarly with 9/11. Airports throughout the US were closed and incoming flights diverted to far flung places – but the Red Cross and other aid agencies were there to meet the stranded passengers, to hand out food and clothing, and to find them temporary accommodation. I’ve often thought that rather than give money to corrupt governments, perhaps it should be given to the big international charities. They at least get boots on the ground and do something positive.

Like I so often am, you've been tripped up by a homonym!

But back to your question. Time to change what? The total amount, the recipients or distribution channels?

Or all of the above?

I've always been in favour of 'results based payments', but I'm now led to believe that this isn't the panacea to corruption that I previously thought.

In a paper published by the Centre for Global Development was the point that Results-based programs are very difficult to measure, because there are so many indicators that have to be met that verifying the result-set becomes impossible.

I took that to mean that if (say) £100,000 was donated to provide clean drinking water for a village, it becomes tricky to actually define the success indicator. What if through no fault of the recipients, the hardware doesn't work, or the infrastructure fails, or due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no oversight.

Corruption is a huge problem, but the various agencies I've looked at don't seem to (or perhaps are unwilling to) develop strategies to combat it.
naomi24 makes an extremely good point there.

Cut out the middle man and fund charities directly.

What about this...

The aid budget could be used in the same way as G.A.Y.E. This is 'Give as you earn', a Government-funded initiative which my company is signed up to. You can set up a direct debit payment out of your salary which goes to charities of your choice but that money is free of tax and NI (it's deducted from gross pay).

My idea would be for the Government to open that up...for every £1 donated to a pre-approved set of charities working in the poorest areas of the world, the government will give so many pence in addition to your contribution.
sp, So is the money we give by Direct Debit in addition to the tax we already pay from which the aid budget is now taken? That apart, your idea sounds like more bureaucracy to me – and that costs money. Far better I think just to stop supporting corrupt regimes, and those who can afford to spend on space missions, and give the money to the international aid organisations direct. Of course it will never happen because there’s more involved in giving aid than genuine altruism.


No - if you're talking about G.A.Y.E. it comes from your salary before[i tax is deducted.

My idea of a central fund to 'top up' what we give voluntarily would take a hell of a lot of development, but essentially the idea is this - charities that we (the people) believe in and fund will get a cut from a central pot. That way, what is being given on our behalf is what [i]we] want central government to fund.

And because it's being donated before tax, we're not being taxed twice.
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I agree with Naomi. There doesn't seem any way to avoid going through these e pensive "Advisors" who cream off huge amounts of donated money.
sp, I think it far simpler for the government to say they are giving £x split directly between international charities and aid agencies. The less bureaucracy the better.

"Of course it will never happen because there’s more involved in giving aid than genuine altruism."

Hmmm. If it is being done purely to impress the electorate, here, then we need to shout a bit louder about our collective disapproval.

If you are hinting at deucers then perhaps I do not need to ask you to expand on what you're suggesting.

The trouble is, if we started habitually sending aid in *practical* form:- transport planes full of stuff which was immediately useable by suffering sectors of population in the foreign country, it would simultaneously fix the immediate humanitarian problem BUT it would severely p.o. the government of that nation because it openly suggests (to the onlooking world) that we think their administration would misappropriate any aid sent in monetary form. Which would be a diplomatic disaster (and likely cause planes to be refused clearances while enroute, in a high load/limited fuel situation).

Bit of a nasty fork, these situations.

We don't send aid: people die.
We do send aid: some officials steal it or buy weapons with it.
We send food/things, not money: we nix multi-million dollar deals on things that country wants which we make.

Essentially, we can't force the rich people in another country to be nice to the poor people in that other country. We don't even do that at home. (Or we do but most contributors to AB deeply resent it).

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Err, what homonym was I tripped up by??!
Hypognosis, I haven’t suggested we give aid in a ‘practical’ form – simply that the money we currently give to foreign governments be given instead to international charities. (I don’t know what a deucer is).

The homonym was cord.

In the context of your sentence, you meant 'chord'.

I have exactly the same thing with 'accept' and 'except'.


But my solution would be much more equitable.

Also, the aid budget could be split between (say) 20 charities, some based in the UK and others that provide international relief. The monies donated to these charities would be allocated on a pro-rata basis, determined on how much we give to each.

That way, we could be sure that the government is reflecting the will of the people.

But there's a huge elephant in the room with such a proposal, and it's something that no-one in Government is willing to admit.

When we (ie. us as individuals) give money to charity, it's purely for altruistic reasons. There's a couple of charities I support, through work and have done for about 15 years. I expect nothing thanks, no recognition - nothing.

When governments give money, there's an element of 'smoothing the path to future trade' involved.

Part (but by NO means all) of the reason why administrations give aid and support is to strengthen ties, especially with those regions who are important because of natural resources, or those who have the potential for either economic growth or political influence.

Ever wondered why so many of the fruit, vegetables and flowers you buy in Sainsburys come from non-Commonwealth regions in Africa?
sp, which is why I said "Of course it will never happen because there’s more involved in giving aid than genuine altruism."

I dare you to google the meaning of homonym, at this point. I think you want the other one.


I googled and it seemed I mis-spelled it.

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