26 September 2012

Rwanda: Tanzania, Malawi Delegation Here on Aid Effectiveness

Officials from Malawi and Tanzania are here to share experiences on how to manage aid.

Rwanda has been applauded for its efforts to implement a series of actions to boost aid effectiveness in various forums of aid recipient countries and development partners.

The 13-member delegation is optimistic that the resources in African countries and well coordinated aid would help to wean off aid.

Peter Kelvin Simbani, the Director of Debt and Aid Management Division in the Malawian Ministry of Finance, told The New Times that they expect to learn from various initiatives that can be replicated in respective countries.

For three days, participants will share ideas on several topics, including aid effectiveness, coordination and management.

Other areas are division of labour and mutual accountability.

"We are learning a lot from Rwanda and I think they are setting a pace on issues related with ownership, which is the first pillar of the Paris Declaration," Simbani said.

The Paris Declaration of 2005 saw donor and recipient countries agree on a number of strategies to ensure aid is put to good use and these included ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results and mutual accountability of the given aid.

"Rwanda has also managed to convince almost all development partners to set the pace for them so that they fund what the government wants funded which remains a challenge in our countries," he added.

Rwanda is already using an approach through which development partners channel aid through the national budget to finance priority areas identified by the government.

According to Simbani, most countries are struggling to make development partners align with respective country priorities. Rwanda managed to convince development partners not to focus on more than three sectors to reduce the essence of mismanagement.

Simbani was impressed with policies related to assessing performance by donors where Rwanda introduced development partners performance Assessment Framework (DPAF), unlike Malawi where they only have Performance Assessment Framework (PAF).

Regarding mutual accountability, he pledged to share experience in Malawi where accountability is both sides and not only the recipient country being accountable to donors.

"Yes there are challenges, but we are ahead; our structure is clear, it's reciprocal and donors are responsible for their action when it comes to aid," he noted.

Participants also discussed the volatility of aid and the exit strategy, as well as what countries can do to reduce aid dependency.

"At one point, donors could identify projects they wanted to finance, set offices and in the end request government to finance projects they never planned together," said Philipina W.Malisa, Assistant Commissioner External Finance Department in Ministry of Finance in Tanzania.

She stressed that aid is not charity but development partnership where they need returns, and that aid recipients should negotiate and come out with the best deal.

With a focus on broadening the tax base, reducing corruption, fraud and putting taxes to very good use, were mentioned as playing a critical role for a stable continent.

"We have learnt a lot about Agaciro Development Fund and the construction of classrooms, and also things beyond mobilizing people but a government which is accountable to its citizens," Simbani said.

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