CSOs Caution against Foreign Aid


*Say it has made African countries more debt-laden, inflation-prone

‎*Suggest local sourcing of development funds

Adedayo‎ Akinwale in Abuja

The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)‎ on Friday lamented that the foreign aid culture has left many African countries more debt-laden, inflation-prone and more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets.

In turn, the situation has made them more unattractive to higher quality investment.

WACSI Executive‎ Director, Ms. Nana Afadzinu, made this known in Abuja at the 2nd West Africa Civil Policy Dialogue Series, 2016 (WAC-PoDiS) with the theme: “Financing our Development: Strategies for Domestic Resource Mobilisation for Agenda 2030 in West Africa and the Role of Civil Society.”

She noted that foreign aid has also restricted the policy space of many developing countries due to existence‎ of ‘tied aid’ which dictates what a designated piece of funding should be used for, with minimal control by the recipient country.

‎According to her, “In most cases, the restriction is extended to procurement processes, with donors dictating where goods and services should be acquired in carrying out a given project, a lot of which sees contracts given to donor country companies to the disadvantage of local goods and services.”

Afadzinu‎ stressed that the current development landscape and the dwindling desire by developed countries to assist developing ones in the form of development aid had made the need for domestic financial resources even more crucial.

She stated: “It is evident that there is need for a mobilisation ‎of resources to move the vision of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) beyond rhetoric to reality. This is even more evident in recent times where there is a constant decline in aid and other support for Africa’s development.

“Domestic resource mobilisation has proven to solidify ownership over development strategy and to strengthen the bonds of accountability between governments and their citizens. This is because locally raised funds give a government full control of designing development programmes and strategies based on the rear needs of the people without any influence by external forces.

“The citizenry is also likely to hold its government accountable for the use ‎of the taxes paid in providing the necessary services for the country”.

Afadzinu‎ emphasised that governments that rely heavily on foreign aid are less inclined to raise local taxes and therefore pay less attention to the demands of their citizens.