It's "good governance"...

"Without good governance, it is difficult to envision progress in other areas or the effective use of international assistance."-Hugh Segal, Source
Hugh Segal made this comment as the chairman of a committee reviewing the Canadian International Development Agency(CIDA) in Africa.

The committee has recommended disbanding the agency for being one of the "slowest bilateral aid agencies in the world..." The "risk-adverse" nature of CIDA was also listed as a reason to put CIDA out to pasture.

Unfortunately these are all hollow reasons for disbanding CIDA. There is a very valid reason for doing away with the agency, but it isn't a reason that could very well be equally applied to any number of other government agencies in Ottawa.

The real reason why CIDA should be disbanded was slipped out by Hugh Segal. Without "good governance" the prospects of Africa being pulled out of the depths of poverty seem unlikely. In fact is not only "hard to envision" I would argue that it is non-existent. After all corrupt leaders don't tend to spend international assistance so wisely.

I'm not trying to suggest that aid to Africa is inherently wrong. But rather that aid in itself accomplishes nothing in Africa. Unless paired with diplomatic efforts and efforts aimed at political change no amount of aid will solve anything.

Anyone can spend money. As such the justification for having a huge agency responsible primarily for spending money makes little practical sense. Ministers of state can easily pick a program to fund - an entire government agency isn't inherently required to help them make that choice in my opinion.

It seems more appropriate for that money and time to be spent actually tackling the root cause of Africa's despair: corrupt leaders.

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