Malawi spells trouble for aid promises

Among many ramifications, the Malawi riots will do no favours to the aid effectiveness movement.

Over recent months, the Zimbabwe-based African Capacity Building Foundation has been conducting a professional campaign to enforce promises made in the 2005 Paris Declaration. In those less troubled times, the rich OECD donors acknowledged the right of African countries to control the spending of aid and the development of their capacity to govern.

The measure of this promise is the share of foreign aid chanelled directly to government ministries, as opposed to field projects over which donors have more control. It is this direct budget support which has been suspended in Malawi by some disgruntled donors, adding to the shortage of foreign currency which has provoked the riots.

Malawi is a scare story for Africa because President Mutharika was until very recently the donors’ pet; now he is perceived as a tyrant. This will all come to a head when the Paris Declaration is reviewed at the major aid effectiveness conference in South Korea in November.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK