The Ministry of Finance and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have held a two-day workshop with members of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) last week to discuss matters on aid effectiveness and to inform the journalists of Ghana’s expectations for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness scheduled for November 29 to December 1, 2011 in Busan, South Korea.
Briefing the journalists, Mrs. Stella Williams, a senior official of the Ministry touched on the complexity of aid, indicating that the aid process is not delivering all the expected results. She said these are the concerns of all stakeholders, as they seek of ways to make aid more useful to recipient countries than they have been doing.
Mrs. Williams said stakeholders are all looking at concrete indicators and targets.
She said at the 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which was held in Accra, Ghana in 2008 the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) was evolved as an instrument to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
She pointed out that the Accra conference stressed on the importance of capacity development and the use of country systems, including financial and procurement systems.
Ms. Mary-Ann Addo, Director, External Resource Mobilization (Multilateral) Division (ERM-M), told participants that the Busan conference is expected to review the Paris Declaration which ends in December 2010. The conference she said is expected to look at what works and what does not work for the $120 billion Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).
She said some of the issues that would have to be looked at include, monitoring, capacity building and over-bureaucratization of the aid process.
“There is the need to keep it simple, accelerate and do the essentials,” she said, adding that, “there is the need to ensure that whatever is essential to partner countries comes out in Busan.”
She raised the issue of timeliness of aid, as governments want to know when they will receive aid and for what.
She said of concern to partners is the issue of fragmentation. Ms. Addo said there are 4000 aid relationships globally with 46 donors, and 50% of all these relationships represent only 5% of the activities.
She also said the Busan conference would be interested in looking at aid the architecture which puts so much burden on local officials. She gave the example of Tanzania where officials spend 25 working days each quarter writing reports for donors.
She called for alignment of aid programmes and the use of country systems, adding that the Busan conference would look at how to keep aid effectiveness in focus as well as how to use aid to achieve the MDGs.
Ms. Addo however hinted that, the Ministry of Finance has prepared an aid policy for Ghana which is before Cabinet for consideration.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi