Monday, March 24, 2008

Unable To Get Aid Projects Underway in Afganistan Due to Poor Security

By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Kabul
Many Afghans are disappointed by a lack of tangible progress. Some $10bn (£5bn) in aid promised to Afghanistan has still to be delivered, aid organisation Oxfam has said.

It also finds that two-thirds of aid is not spent through the government and 40% goes back to donor countries in consultant fees and ex-patriot pay.

Oxfam says the prospects for peace in Afghanistan are being undermined because what has been donated is not being used effectively. Oxfam carried out the report on behalf of 94 aid agencies in Afghanistan.

"Western countries are failing to deliver" is the clear message of the Oxfam report for the umbrella group Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief (Acbar).

It shows a disparity between what has been promised and what has been delivered.

And the way in which the money is used is also criticised.

Different countries have different ways of spending. Some countries channel donations through the government to help their civil service manage and decide on the funding of development programmes but two-thirds of the international aid misses out the government altogether.

America is the biggest donor by far.

But a USAid official confirmed that since 2001 it had only spent two-thirds of the money it pledged - a shortfall of $8.5bn - blaming poor security for an inability to get projects under way.

And the official said only 6% of the overall budget was spent through the Afghan government "to ensure US taxpayers' money could be accounted for" - implying a lack of trust in the government system.

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