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'SMART AID': backing African leadership against poverty
ONE advocates that all aid should become 'SMART aid'. This is effective aid which is:
S - Sufficient in scale to achieve its intended goals.
M -Measurable so taxpayers and recipients can see results and monitor progress over time.
A - Accountable to the citizens of developing nations.
R - Responsive to the specific needs of the citizens for whom it is intended.
T - Transparent, to allow scrutiny by civil society and the media.
Effective development assistance is only part of what is needed to help African countries achieve sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Increased trade, investment, and above all good governance are also essential. But implemented correctly, aid can help progress on all these other fronts.
There are some outdated aid models which have undermined good governance, and even discouraged wise investment - for example aid that is tied to products and services from donor nations, aid given to prop up friendly dictators for geopolitical purposes, or aid that is designed in a boardroom in Washington DC or Brussels but bears no relation to the realities on the ground in developing countries.
Smart aid builds on the successes of more recent approaches to aid, increasingly implemented since the start of this decade. It uses well managed mechanisms, whether public sector, private sector or non profit. It incorporates the principles of transparency, accountability and the right checks and balances to help root out corruption and support improved governance. Smart aid programmes also come with built in exit strategies, based on clear criteria for success, designed in the recipient country itself.
Smart aid principles are consistent with the Accra Agenda for Action on aid effectiveness agreed by more than 100 governments at a meeting in Ghana in 2008. This initiative is aimed at streamlining and coordinating the aid system, putting African countries, especially ordinary citizens, in the driving seat. The campaign to scale back old approaches and scale up the new is ongoing, and should be urgently accelerated. Sometimes the development community fails to adapt to the times; when this happens, bureaucracies build up which have vested interests in the old ways. Smart aid approaches counter such tendencies.
There are countless examples of smart aid programmes achieving results across Africa, whether in fighting disease, promoting literacy, boosting agriculture, helping African countries to trade and attract investment, or empowering African citizens to fight corruption and hold their own governments to account. Smarter aid approaches have helped African countries put 34 million more children in school between 1999 and 2006, have helped halve malarial death rates in countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia, and have helped place an estimated three million Africans on lifesaving anti-retroviral AIDS drugs since 2002. These are tremendous results which should be celebrated - and accelerated. Here are a few more specific examples of smart aid working in tandem with effective African leadership to bring about real change on the ground.
This briefing suggests five key principles which should be applied to any financial promise made by a policy maker. The briefing is aimed at those responsible for making the promises in government, as well as those judging the quality of the promises in the media and civil society. MORE
There are countless examples of SMART Aid programmes achieving results across Africa, whether in fighting disease, promoting literacy, boosting agriculture, helping African countries to trade and attract investment, or empowering African citizens to fight corruption and hold their own governments to account. MORE
The Third High Level Forum (HLF3) brings together ministers and officials, civil society organisations and development experts to agree an Agenda for Action (AAA) on aid effectiveness. It is the most high profile gathering in recent years aiming to improve the effectiveness of the US $ 100 billion spent each year on aid.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is an initiative funded by international donors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. AGRA works to enhance agricultural productivity in Africa by training smallholder farmers, supporting the development of high-yielding seed varieties, and ensuring that farmers ... More
The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), which opened in January 2008, provides a low-cost, low-risk way for Ethiopian farmers to trade and get a fair price for their produce. It trades coffee, sesame, haricot beans, teff, wheat and maize. The exchange ensures the quality of the produce, and manages delivery and ... More
The Investment Climate Facility (ICF) is an initiative that grew from the 2005 Commission for Africa and started operations in July 2007. Its aim is to work with receptive African governments "to make the continent an even better place to do business". It is currently active in ten African countries ... More
Since 2005/2006, the Malawian government has provided a fertiliser subsidy to smallholder farmers, a programme that is now supported by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). This subsidy provides vouchers to farmers to purchase fertiliser and seeds that enable them to produce a more robust crop. Like ... More
As ONE continues to advocate for SMART Aid, we’ll be bringing you examples on the ONE Blog of how effective development assistance, when implemented correctly, can save lives.In Kenya, as with many places in Africa, opening a bank account requires a minimum deposit which is often beyond the ... More
Trade, fuelled by economic growth and investment, is an essential tool for poverty reduction. One challenge for many African businesses is navigating the complex rules and regulations involved in exporting to lucrative developed country markets. The USAID "Trade Hub" programs are designed to help African businesses take advantage of the ... More
Thanks to scaled up support for simple, relatively inexpensive solutions like anti-malaria mosquito nets, measles vaccinations and vitamin supplements, the number of children dying before their fifth birthdays each year has been cut to the lowest level ever on record, 8.8 million, according to a report released today by Unicef. MORE