Sunvoice

Development Success Will Hinge On Closer Co-operation

The relationship between development partners or aid donors and recipients (governments) has come under scrutiny in several studies of economies in the Third World, particularly in Africa. In several African
27 Oct 2014 09:53
Development Success Will Hinge On Closer Co-operation
Cabinet Ministers with donors and development partners after the meeting last week. Photo: DEPTFO news

The relationship between development partners or aid donors and recipients (governments) has come under scrutiny in several studies of economies in the Third World, particularly in Africa.

In several African countries, where billions of dollars have been poured in, poverty is still widespread, corruption runs rampant, and good governance is non-existent. In one study, the researchers concluded that the aid donors were also responsible for failing to recognise the local culture and its implications, and the prevailing circumstances.

Some of the lessons from the African experience can benefit our young democracy as we embark on this new journey.

Government has made the right start. Last Friday, it called a meeting with its development partners, to outline its priority areas. This was the first time that a government had done this. It was a wonderful opportunity for all parties to get together, know each other and ensure they are on the same page.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, did the Government presentation and pointed out areas where help would be most useful. This was a high-powered meeting attended by representatives from the United Nations agencies, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

Development projects in Fiji would be successfully completed and on time when all the stakeholders work in unison.

Transparency, accountability and good governance are essential components of an effective development programme. These are principles that form the core of the Bainimarama Government policies. Obviously, it has learned from history, local and overseas experiences. Consultations and dialogue are the best means of making sure that the best outcomes are achieved. The recent Budget Forum was a classic example. A responsive government takes the time to listen to the people and all stakeholders. By the same token, development partners/overseas donors need to take the time and understand Government’s development priorities.

Some studies suggest that the people development aid targets should be essentially involved in the decision-making process. Simply put, the perspectives of the recipients should be incorporated into the ‘development business’. This will  ease the larger constraint of a physical and institutional distance between the decision-making processes of international agencies and their recipients.

Fiji is fortunate  because many of the international agencies are based in Suva. So personal contacts, the best form of engagement, should not be a problem as the meeting on Friday showed.

All indicators point to an interesting and positive four years ahead because we are adapting to change and innovation.  

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




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