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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

EU eyes 'aid exit' for Africa's champions

Africa still needs massive international development assistance but it also has its success stories, with countries such as Ghana heading towards a possible ‘aid exit’, European Commission claim.
Erica Gerretsen, in charge of Western Africa at the Commission’s directorate for development and cooperation said that “the Commission starts to think about an 'exit strategy', about the time when the authorities of Ghana would tell Brussels: 'Thank you very much, but it is no longer necessary that you bring assistance under the form of projects or budget support'.”
Some data reveal obvious successes. In Ghana the percentage of children attending primary school is close to 100%. In 2009, more than a million children in the West African country of 24 million didn’t attend school. In Burkina Faso, the number of girls attending school rose from 61% to 75% between 2007 and 2010 and the proportion of children completing primary school rose from 36% to 52%.
Among the key indicators measuring progress in development are the percentages of children attending primary school, child mortality, the number of births attended by skilled health staff, the number of people vaccinated against measles and the number of people living under poverty line.
But Oxfam's Kaboré warned that foreign experts should not “fool themselves” with positive aid numbers. “When we talk about achieving great success on people’s access to education, we need to be sure that success in quantity is followed by a better quality on education," he said. "To say it in a simple way, it is not a success to have thousands more students at school if teachers are absent or classes too overcrowded […] The same happens with water access. Many water points, which have been installed without the community involvement in water chain management for sustainability, are broken down,” Kaboré said.
Along with the aid champions, there appears to be a category of countries ‘returning from far’ – those that have improved a lot despite a situation which was seen as desperate only recently. One such country is Liberia, which has been prey to civil wars from the 1980s that killed approximately 250,000 people and devastated its economy. Also, in Niger and Togo, political progress has allowed the Commission to start important development projects.

Source: Euractiv