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article imageAgency Says Major Donors Failing to Keep Afghanistan Commitments

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By Bob Ewing     Mar 26, 2008 in World
The report shows Western countries have delivered only US$15 billion of the US$25 billion in aid they promised since 2001.The report estimates that corporate profits and expatriate consultant salaries eat up 40% of all aid monies.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) fares well in a new report on aid effectiveness in Afghanistan. The report was published by the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) which consists of 94 agencies, including Oxfam International.
The OXFAM press release says that the report shows Western countries have delivered only US$15 billion of the US$25 billion in aid they promised since 2001.
• the US only delivered half of its US$10.4 billion commitment
• the EC and Germany less than two-thirds of their pledges of US$1.7 billion and US$1.2 billion respectively, and
• the World Bank delivered just over half of its $1.6 billion commitment.
Canada had committed $800 million and has delivered all but $50 million of it. The UK pledged US$1.45 billion and distributed US$1.3 billion.
Canada also avoided the report’s criticism of the high cost of aid delivered through private contractors and consultants, since most of Canada’s aid is delivered through multilateral institutions, NGOs or directly to the Afghan national government.
Corporate profits and expatriate consultant salaries eat up 40% of all aid monies according to the report’s estimates. For example, a road between the centre of Kabul and the international airport built with US aid cost over US$2.3 million per kilometer, at least four times the average cost of building a road in Afghanistan.
Matt Waldman is the report’s author and works for Oxfam. Waldman said: “The reconstruction of Afghanistan requires a sustained and substantial commitment of aid - but too much of what is given is wasted, ineffective or uncoordinated.”
The spending that is devoted to tackling poverty is a fraction of what is spent on military operations, and a disproportionate amount of aid is being used for military and political objectives -- following the troops -- rather than reducing poverty.
Waldman said: “While the US military is currently spending US$100 million a day in Afghanistan, our research shows the volume of aid spent by all donors since 2001 is less than a tenth of that.
Concentrating aid where troops are active is a short-sighted approach. If other provinces are neglected then insecurity could spread.”
The report recommends:
• Genuine transparency by donors, including Canada, about what they are doing.
• Establishment of an independent commission on aid effectiveness to measure how well each donor performs.
• Proper coordination of donors with the Afghan government and among themselves.
The report also recommends focusing aid on responding to needs identified by Afghans, building Afghan skills and capabilities, and benefiting more people in rural areas where the majority of Afghans live.
The report can be read here.
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