An interesting article was posted to Devex today discussing not the more typical topic of where in the world donor funding coming from and going to, but who will determine the spending of the investment once it arrives. The article references the recent trend towards country ownership, but moves further beyond this citing results from their studies which highlight a more localised approach to the management of donor investment as being individual or community beneficiaries as those most likely to influence spending. There were two things that this article got me thinking about. The first, and without opening this can of worms too wide, was the fleeting reference to the lack of government transparency and trust around them to manage donor investment funds appropriately. With the shift from traditional aid organisations swiftly passing from country to community level, has the corruption (that we sadly cannot deny occurs) come back around to bite some governments’ in the rear? If the survey findings and expert predictions are to be realised, it would seem that governments are going to have a short period of influence before the funding moves from one set of influential recipients to the next, potentially leaving a shortfall in current or anticipated financial support.
For me, it also brings up questions around how funds will be managed that are directed by individuals and communities into and for their own local area, as opposed to governments at the country-level and international organisations who have greater than hyper-local focus and insight. What sort of impact will this have on the overall development of a country? Will we see the leapfrogging of regions of current need where investment is greatest? Could there be a decentralisation of services as investment boosts infrastructure in some regions beyond that of its neighbours, breaking down interconnectivity? Or will this bring about a levelling of wealth and commodities with accelerated catch-up to the rest of the country via smart investment by those who know best? Of course I’m hoping for the latter!
* Image by Nicola D'Elia