"AID" ? for Africa

From The BBC
Government 'wastes' African aid

Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries
The government has been accused of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of African aid in Malawi.
BBC's Five Live Report found more than £700,000 was spent on hotel bills and meals for US workers over four years.

The National Audit Office said it may mount an investigation into the use of consultants by the Department for International Development (DFID).

The DFID has yet to issue a response to the accusations, which will be aired in a programme on Sunday.

'Phantom aid'

One project in Malawi funded by the DFID has been accused of using international flights to fly in pens and notebooks bought in Washington DC.

The BBC report looked at several projects funded by the department in Malawi, which is considered to be the tenth-poorest country in the world.

This is what one British charity has called "phantom aid"
Matthew Chapman, BBC Five Live

From Our Own Correspondent

Patrick Watt of charity Action Aid said: "(This is) another example of aid money not really getting down to people who most urgently need to benefit from it."

He said: "It's an example of phantom aid, when what Malawi needs is real aid."

Conservative international development spokesman Andrew Mitchell said there appears to have been a breakdown in "transparency and accountability".

"DFID need to get a grip and explain what has happened," Mr Mitchell said.

"Hardworking taxpayers want to help end poverty but they expect the money to be spent in an effective and accountable way."

US agencies which had been brought in as consultants included the National Democratic Institute (NDI), used on a project to improve the parliamentary committee system in Malawi.

The £1m donated to the project from US funds was used solely to pay for NDI staff there, the BBC report said.

Spending defended

Over the four years of the project, the DFID donated £3m to the project. Of that, £586,423 was spent on hotels in Malawi for the NDI staff. Another £126,062 was spent on meals.

An ex-staff member said computers, notebooks and other stationery had been bought in Washington DC and flown over rather than bought locally.

There are large areas of the aid system that are in urgent need of reform
Patrick Watt
Action Aid

An NDI spokeswoman defended the spending, and said the British department had never questioned it.

World Learning, a US group which had been brought in to distribute £4m of British money to strengthen Malawian society had to cancel the project after six months and a cost of £300,000. Dozens of local staff face losing their jobs.

Mr Watt said the large amounts of money spent of administration and overseas staff meant "there are large areas of the aid system that are in urgent need of reform".

Malawian campaigner Rafiq Hajat said: "Where you have so-called experts who come from outside, charge exorbitant fees, live a five-star lifestyle and then go back having left a couple of reports mouldering on the shelf, that's how I would define phantom aid."

Eh bye gum Bob Geldof must be turning in his grave or one day will for good old Bob wouldn't waste a penny.
You should see how much they are paying for their staff in Basra, compared to the amount these 'consultants' actually spend trying to sort out IZ governance issues...


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