Liberian minister to donors: Let us build our capacity to be accountable

Just two years ago, Liberia was getting most of its development aid through intermediary agencies. Now the once conflict-ravaged African nation is receiving an increasing amount of direct donor support and managing a multidonor trust fund on health.

This matters for country ownership, and the government wants to be even more responsible for the foreign aid it still needs to fully emerge from decades of conflict and neglect, according to Julia Ducan Cassell, Liberian minister for gender and development.

“If we are going to be responsible for something, we’re going to take the blame for it. Let us put the management system in place. Let us show to our donors that we can account for these funds. Let us show to our donors that the people are the direct beneficiaries of this funding,” she said during a video interview with Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz at the European Development Days in Brussels.

Cassell explained that the shift to direct donor support is allowing the country to build capacities like its procurement sector, so the funding is always used for the intended purposes, all spending is accounted for and more money goes directly to the beneficiaries.

“Let us start building [our] capacity so we can be responsible, [so] if we said we spent $3 million, we … can account for it,” noted the Liberian minister. “But if you [give] $3 million to other agencies, other chains, we cannot account for it because of overhead costs, administrative costs, [and] maybe at the end of the day it will be $200,000 or $300,000 out of the $3 million that were spent on the beneficiaries.”

Check out the full video here to learn more about how Liberia is working with donors to fast-track its development process.

Visit us at the 2013 European Development Days and watch out for more Devex coverage of news and views from Europe’s leading global development event of the year.

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About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.