Saturday, 30 July 2011

Increasing doubts about aid to corrupted Kenya

Development and emergency aid continues to pour into Kenya. There are without doubt many needy people in Kenya, who could use the aid, but donor countries and organizations are finally beginning to ask, whether their efforts are worthwile. Faced with the facts in this one of the world´s most corrupted countries, it is not difficult to understand the growing doubts:

‘The permanent secretary in Kenya’s finance ministry estimated last November that he lost a third of his budget – $2bn – to graft’.”

The Kenyan daily The Nation writes about a growing corruption scandal:

A scandal similar to one that led to donor freeze of Free Primary Education funding has emerged in the programme to save communities from the effects of drought.
Billions of shillings committed by various donors and international lending institutions for fighting drought in Northern Kenya are frozen as the country begins to confront suspension by the World Bank of a critical drought management project that has been running since 1996, and which is currently under the ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. It is financed by the government and a World Bank loan.

The forensic audit exposed massive corruption and fraudulent transactions across seven districts of Northern Kenya.
From transactions picked at random from the seven districts, the audit established fraudulent transactions amounting to Sh362 million in two financial years.
The forensic audit catalogues cases where money was spent on dispensaries that were not in use, butcheries that were not certified by Health ministry and schools that did not exist.

Read the entire article here

A tiny example of the sad reality in Kenya:

Officials of Mawingu IDP camp in Nyandarua Central district were allegedly intercepted on Sunday night as they ferried 91 bags of relief maize. IDPs who spoke to the press said they have been suspecting that the officials have been selling the food aid. The IDPs said they laid a trap and nabbed a lorry with grains, at 2am They smashed the lorry's windscreens and windows.

The World Bank has now finally reacted to the corruption in Kenya:

Nairobi - The World Bank did not renew funding for a project to help more than 1 million Kenyans to withstand recurrent droughts after some of the money could not be accounted for, an official said on Friday.
Johannes Zutt, the World Bank country director, said the group chose not to give new funding to the Kenyan government for the Arid Lands Natural Resource Management Program until it accounts for $4.1 million that was used.
The unaccounted money was part of $120 million the bank gave to the project from 2003 to 2010. The Kenyan government says it is looking into the fraud allegations.
Critics say mismanagement and endemic corruption in Kenya's government are partly to blame for the hunger situation in Kenya where the UN anticipates that 3.5 million people will need food assistance in coming months.
Kenya, East Africa's largest economy is one of the most corrupt countries in the world according to anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International which ranks the country at 154 of 178.

Read the entire article here

In spite of the widespread corruption (In the 2010 Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International, Kenya was number 154 out of 178 countries surveyed) the steady flow of aid to Kenya continues:

The government of Finland has donated 643 million shillings to the Kenyan government in an effort to promote efforts aimed at attaining Millennium Development Goals in the country.

German chancellor Angela Merkel recently visited Kenya, and promised more aid - although she also spoke about fighting corruption. Whether there will be any actual improvements in the near future, is highly doubtful:

Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday pledged increased development aid and stronger trade ties with Kenya on her first visit to the country.
Merkel said the strong business delegation accompanying her underscored the desire to deepen economic ties, but stressed the success of the bilateral support is pegged on transparency and the effective fight against corruption.
She praised progress in implementing the Constitution and promised Germany’s support in setting up credible institutions to fight corruption and organise next year’s General Election.


There is, of course, the question whether development aid to Africa - even under the best kind of circumstances - in reality does more harm than good. But even those who still believe in the usefulness of foreign aid, should abstain from giving to corrupted regimes and countries. It is also worth noting that the likelihood of corruption increases with more and more of e.g. EU aid going to fighting (imaginary) human caused global warming/climate change.

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