Glennie: Mali Ripe for Aid Reductions

In Mali, has aid become a problem rather than a solution?

Foreign aid money accounts for 50 percent of the Malian government’s expenditures. High dependence on aid, along with the conditions imposed by donors, gives very littlle incentive for aid-recipient governments to spearhead and take ownership of growth and development, according to Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute.

“[O]ver time, after long periods of high aid dependence, the negative institutional impacts get very serious, as governments lose their ability to lead on policy, and as their accountability to citizens is eroded. Rather than develop, state institutions can be retarded. The impacts of donor conditionality (such as the insistence, in Mali’s case, on privatising everything in sight), an integral part of the aid deal, can also be damaging for development and poverty reduction,” Glennie writes in the blog “Poverty Matters” published in the Guardian.

Mali, he says, should start to deliberately reduce aid receipts in the coming years.

“People in donor and recipient countries are keen to know what the aid exit strategy is. It is possible that they understand the problem more instinctively than the aid professionals themselves (although the head of France’s development agency spoke before me in Mali along broadly similar lines). Rather than undermining the case for development co-operation, introducing a discussion of exit strategies makes it more dynamic and urgent,” Glennie notes.

He says that aid exit strategies will be on the agenda of the next international meeting on the Paris agenda for aid effectiveness (HLF4) in South Korea in November.

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About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.