Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vetting Aid Recipients

Matthew Levitt, writing in an Op-Ed piece appearing in the New York Daily News, has some strong things to say about USAID and how it pretty much fails to ever check whether the recipients of aid are not using control of that aid for internal political purposes.

His case example is Gaza, specifically how Hamas gets it hands on USAID material, but as I read it, the application is much broader: Whether one is USAID, Japan ODA, the French, Scandinavian, Dutch, or any international humanitarian (or development) aid supplier... sure that the groups receiving the aid will perform the needed relief...

...and be even more certain that one is not enabling the very political problem that one is supposedly sending the aid to relieve.

Bonus Points: If one is in political authority at the budgetary level, also be very sure that the officers running one's aid program haven't been co-opted by people with other agenda than one's national interest. cf. USAID in parts of Latin America; ODA in Viet Nam (last year).

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