AfDB President Urges African Leaders to 'Shift the Debate' on Foreign Aid

A girl rests her head on the sacks of maize at a food distribution site in Somalia. Donald Kaberuka, head of the African Development Bank, is urging the continent's leaders to reduce their dependency on foreign aid. Photo by: Monoocher Deghati / IRIN

The head of the African Development Bank is urging the continent’s leaders to reduce their dependency on foreign aid and explore other sources of development finance.

African leaders should develop policy agendas that reduce aid dependency, said AfDB President Donald Kaberuka at a regional meeting on aid effectiveness held Nov. 4-5 in Tunisia.

“There is an appetite for Africa,” Kaberuka said while urging African countries to consider turning to international financial markets and utilizing the untapped potential of domestic capital markets.

He added that while foreign aid remains very important to Africa, the region’s development should be driven by strong economic growth led by the private sector. This requires effective governments that are able to raise their own resources to finance development needs, Kaberuka explained.

“I believe that it is time to shift the debate from the mechanics of aid delivery to the broader development challenges we will face in the coming years,” Kaberuka said. “Aid is only a means to an end. Indeed, if aid is truly effective, it will progressively put itself out of business. Effective aid should therefore be designed with this in mind – to strengthen, not displace, domestic energy and capacity; and to build up, not replace, alternative sources of development finance.”

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.