Wild: Development Assistance Must Take Risks

Donors should assist fragile states despite concerns about corruption and other issues that may impede success, Leni Wild of the Overseas Development Institute says. These states often need more help than stable democracies, where aid initiatives are more likely to succeed, he argues.

Donors should not solely focus their assistance on functioning democracies.

Allocating more aid where it is working has its merits but Leni Wild of the Overseas Development Institute says the practice is not always effective. Donors, he argues, should also send aid to fragile states because the need aid the most.

While "results-based aid" can assure taxpayers from donor countries that their money is well spent and aid initiatives are being evaluated thoroughly. But it may, according to the ODI politics and governance researcher, lead to a focus that ignores those that need aid the most.

It is worth giving aid to fragile countries, he says, provided that donors use context-appropriate approaches like political-economy analysis. Political economy may complement development, as another ODI report argued recently.

Wild cautioned against an approach to aid effectiveness supported by Andrew Mitchell, a Conservative member of the British parliament and shadow international development secretary. Mitchell, in a recent speech given at ODI, said his party would make aid effectiveness a key priority if elected in the upcoming parliamentary elections, and linked aid effectiveness to "value for money" calculations.

Development assistance also requires uncertain investments that extend beyond the election cycle, Wild counters.

About the author

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    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.