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<nettime> Foreign Aid
Ivo Skoric on Wed, 17 Jan 2007 06:19:02 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Foreign Aid


http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1990041,00.html

This article says that foreign aid fuels conflicts in former war 
zones, and offers good examples of what are foreigners doing wrong. 
Sometimes I think the role of foreign aid is to keep fighting sides 
alive, but that removing the reasons for conflict are beyond their 
mandate, and clearly beyond their skills. This is a harsher argument: 
that foreign aid actually makes things worse. Something that's echoed 
more and more by people in the region. I can't say for every listed 
country, but in Bosnia, that I am visiting now, I definitely see that 
a) the country is economically still far worse off than either 
Croatia or Serbia, b) the political system of government is a 
conundrum of three overlapping political systems of government with 
50+ political parties contributing to a total breakdown of decision-
making, c) the crime is rampant, with whole buses being stolen in 
neigboring countries, and a lot of violence involving bombs, d) since 
the foreign aid is a major source of revenue, there is conflict among 
the recipients, and lack of motivation towards cooperating, e) 
corruption is so widespread, that I think there should be a ministry 
established to regulate it: closeness to the source of foreign aid is 
a coveted asset that could be, and then necessary is sold to the 
highest bidder by anyone who is in that position, f) The article 
identifies that "too much aid is designed to meet the political 
priorities of the donor countries and institutions and not the needs 
of the beneficiaries" - true, and that is what makes locals angry, 
and cynical about foreign aid. But that also makes smart ones among 
them learn how to creatively write reports. Sometimes - this becomes 
an international scandal - like the mailings between Milorad Dodik 
and Doris Pack.

We should ask ourselves what happens when the foreign aid leaves? I 
think Bosnia reverses to 1992. Because the conflict is not really 
solved, the "aid" aided the parties to survive and be fit to fight a 
new one. Then, for how long is the foreign aid be necessary? It is 
really the issue of changing the nature of foreign aid, not the 
length of its presence, since packaged as it is, it does more harm 
than good anyway.

ivo

---------------------------------------------------------
Ivo Skoric
105 Robbins Street
Rutland VT 05701
802.775.7257
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
balkansnet.org


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