CGD in the News

Concerned About US Safety? Focus On More Than the Military for National Security (International Policy Digest)

August 11, 2017
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From the article:

While supplying aid to nations that rank high on subjective corruption scales may pose a risk to how money is allocated, there are measures in place that work to combat these abuses. As cited in a recent NPR piece, Charles Kenny, an economist and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, believes that donors like USAID and the World Bank are actually so focused on stopping corruption that worthwhile aid is negatively affected. This issue is outlined in his book, Results Not Receipts: Counting the Right Things in Corruption, where he further discusses data which illustrates that these groups spend more money hunting down instances of fraud rather than measuring how the aid has helped. NPR conducted an interview with Kenny on the issue, in which he claims the evidence at hand regarding corruption doesn’t suggest that it is a big problem. “It isn’t somehow a more fundamental problem than a number of other issues that poor countries face: poor health, limited access to finance, weak infrastructure.”

Kenny cites as an example the years between 2004 and 2010 in Afghanistan. USAID funded vaccinations and neonatal care which increased life expectancy in the area dramatically — from 42 to 62. However, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health’s accounts showed a gap in spending; $63 million from a total $236 million went unaccounted for. As a result, the special instructor of USAID in Afghanistan recommended that no further funding be supplied — ignoring the clear evidence of the positive impact of the program.

While foreign aid’s main goal is to help other countries, it is important to note that these donations are in the United States’ and the world’s best interests. Aid funds, programs and initiatives translate into improved U.S. and global safety relating to terrorism.

Read full article here.