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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Poverty, Aid and Corruption

By Transparency International

This policy paper considers key issues in the aid and corruption debate, focusing specifically on abuses that occur in development assistance targeted at poverty reduction. The paper offers recommendations on how to make the most efficient use of development resources in anti-poverty programmes and tackling the supply-side of corruption. It shows how cooperation in multi-stakeholder environments and the decentralization of aid delivery can help avoid corruption-prone settings.

To read the full paper, click here

Tanzania: Our Minerals, Aid and Aids


This article looks at the how local politics around corruption and foreign direct investment coincided with visits from VIPs from the Commonwealth fraternity. The UK's Douglas Alexander, the Secretary for International Development during his visit expressed concern for large sums of money being paid out fraudulently to local and foreign companies from the Bank of Tanzania. But he also said the UK would double its aid to Tanzania. Regarding the issuing of mining contracts, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, agreed with his Tanzanian counterpart that the Tanzanian government needed to negotiate with investors in the mining sector in order to reach a 'win-win' situation. He too announced increases in aid, saying that Canada would donate $105 million over 5 years as part of the $500 million health improvement program for Africa and Asia.

The article also sheds light on a study by the Overseas Development Institute on effectiveness of development assistance. In this study, 261 senior stakeholders in receipient countries were asked to assess the performance of the African Development Bank (AfDB), European Commission(EU), United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF), Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank. Tanzanian respondents in particular took issue with the World Bank accusing it of imposing policies on the government and meddling in project implementation. According to the researchers, the World Bank is perceived as imposing a neo-liberal policy framework.

Click here to read the full article

Corruption and the inequality trap in Africa

Source: Afrobarometer

In this paper the author offers an argument he calls the 'inequality trap' - how high inequality leads to low trust in out-groups and then to high levels of corruption - and back to higher levels of corruption. The analyses is presented for Africa using afrobarometer data - the full cross-national surveys for Round 2 (2002), the Round 2 data for Mali (which have questions on trust and on limiting the incomes of the rich), and the Round 3 data for Nigeria (which have the most comprehensive data to test the claim that people see corruption as stemming from inequality - and leading to greater income disparities between the rich and the poor, between the powerful and the powerless). The fairness of the legal system is the central factor shaping people’s views of how equally people are treated.

Click here to read the full paper

Interview with Martin Tisne on the Network for Integrity in Reconstruction

Source: International Budget Project (IBP)

When and why was the Network for Integrity in Reconstruction (NIR) created?

The Associate Program Director of NIR, Mar Tisne commented that the high levels of corruption, non-existent efforts to monitor external aid, minimal input from civil society in reconstruction assessments, lack of security, and prevailing instability are only some of the characteristics that speak to the political, social, and economic vulnerability of post-conflict societies. The London based NGO Tiri created NIR in 2005 to hinder the recurrence of conflict, improve the coordination and effectiveness of aid, and promote the reduction of poverty. To learn more about Tiri, go to:

Who are NIR’s partners?

NIR works with Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Issues in Bosnia Herzegovina, the Kosovar Initiative for Stability, the Lebanese Transparency Association, the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, the Centro de Integridade Publica in Mozambique, the AMAN Coalition in Palestine, the National Accountability Group in Sierra Leone, and the Timorese Institute for Development Studies to create a support network amongst civil society that can improve transparency and accountability in aid delivery and policymaking in postwar countries.

How does NIR monitor reconstruction aid?

NIR partners monitor key sectors where integrity reform can reduce a country’s likelihood of reverting to violent conflict as well as promote recovery in areas such as land reform, public appointments, funding flows to ministries, and so on.

Country partners select reconstruction projects and study them to answer the following questions: Where is the money coming from? How is it being spent? Where is it being spent? The findings are shared in an international database that can serve as a point of reference for all stakeholders. These activities are done in cooperation with local and international universities, think tanks, and NGOs in order to gain the necessary skills to gather information in data-poor and complex environments and to develop accountability monitoring mechanisms and integrity reform.

Monitoring may cover projects implemented by the government, bilateral or multilateral donor institutions, international groups (including both NGOs and private-sector companies working on aid contracts), and local groups (including both NGOs and private-sector companies).

Will NIR partners be able to assist governments and donors?

NIR bases its work on an evidence-based understanding of each country’s reform environment. That enables groups to choose a reconstruction sector to monitor. By pursuing and constantly updating their work, NIR partners will be in a position to advise their own governments and aid donors more effectively.

NIR will launch a policy papers series where partners will present submissions twice a year for small grants. These papers might cover reconstruction issues, but they will also be geared toward addressing practical capacity-building issues such as how to access information in difficult environments or how to start budget monitoring in a postwar country.

How does NIR work with its partners?

Following a briefing by Tiri, a thorough desk review, and interviews with NIR contacts, NIR (along with an NIR regional partner) conducts a fact-finding mission to each new country partner to meet CSO actors and a range of bilateral and multilateral donors, INGOs, and government representatives. The new NIR CSO partner is then selected on the basis of prior experience and knowledge of issues related to accountability and corruption, a long-term interest and commitment to these issues, research capacity, and prior monitoring experience.

Once selected, a partner receives formal training from Tiri as well as access to research from NIR members and resources on aid, state-building, corruption, and accountability. The partner then conducts the Reconstruction National Integrity System Survey, a methodology laying the basis for a strategic understanding of the reform process and aid world. This informs the group’s monitoring priorities and helps build its capacity. Tiri provides close support through frequent interaction and training in order to ensure the excellence of the partner’s work.

Wolfowitz under fire after partner receives promotion and pay rise

Source: Guardian

Paul Wolfowitz, the former Bush administration hawk whose name is indelibly linked to the invasion of Iraq, has provoked a bureaucratic war in his current job of president of the World Bank after it emerged yesterday that his romantic partner had received a promotion and a number of large pay rises.

Click here to read the full article

Christian Aid and UK Aid Network Corruption Seminar

Christian Aid and UK Aid Network recently hosted a seminar on corruption to inform more proactive NGO advocacy work on the issue. Click here to read the notes from the seminar.

Geldof moves to tackle corruption

Bob Geldof has joined forces with pressure group Transparency International (TI) to better ensure global aid is not lost to corruption. Read the full article on

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