Effe… what?

Published: 07 December 2010

When I stepped in the Square yesterday I already had a clear idea what I was going to research. I agree that development aid is very important and produces results seen only in the long term. But in a time of financial crisis every euro must be well-invested - development money included. So I wanted to know how the EU is implementing development aid.
There is a lot of buzz and skepticism about budget support, a method where the EU injects money directly into the supported country’s budget. The idea is that investing money in an already existing infrastructure will produce more long-lasting results than supporting a specific project which lasts only for three or fewer years. But there is a problem.  What happens when a government from a supported country gets overthrown? What happens when the aid is used for buying arms? And how about corruption?
I interviewed Koos Richelle, Director General EuropAid Cooperation Office, and Oldemiro Marques Balói, Minister for foreign affairs and cooperation from Mozambique. Both said that budget support works and that the process is well-controlled by the European Commission. According to them, budget support is an effective method.
But I wanted to hear the other side, to get the perspective of someone from the field. By coincidence I stumbled upon Raphael Mwai, a development advisor from Kenya. He was attending a meeting about aid effectiveness organized by NGOs. You can hear in the audio what he had to say about the topic.