Tuesday, October 18, 2005

US system for financing aid "dysfunctional"

Financial Times
Monday, October 17

Andrew Natsios, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) (clever ancronym, no?), recently told the Financial Times that the way Congress allocates funding to discrete initiatives makes it very difficult to integrate aid in a coherent development effort.

Initiatives with specific goals, particularly to fight diseases, are popular in Congress and in the country. By contrast, it is “much harder” to sell the idea of funding development in general. “Development is not understood, even inside the Beltway in Washington,” said Mr. Natsios.

Natsios briefly referred to the political consequences of aid, citing the turnround in support for the US at the expense of al-Qaeda in Indonesia after its prominent role in the post-tsunami recovery effort.

Natsios said USAID was trying to get around federal funding limitations by integrating aid efforts on the ground, and was deliberately using funds mandated for specific purposes in a way that advanced development in general. “The HIV/Aids capacity building we are doing is helping to improve entire health systems,” he said.

Why does Congress prefer to to channel money into single-issue projects? Why is it also important for the US to support general development as well?

2 comments:

Helen said...

Love the acronym. Some other clever ones: CAN-SPAM, and the PATRIOT Act.

Helen said...

From what I know, many funds allocated by the U.S. has "tags" to them--the developing countries have to meet certain requirements and some developing countries find it a sort of unjust requirement to change their present systems in order to get development funds from us.