“The purpose, ultimately, is to use aid to end aid.”
Tony Blair, Africa Governance Initiative
A few weeks ago Indigo attended an event with Tony Blair at the Overseas Development Institute. Entitled ‘Rethinking Leadership for Development’, the event looked at the role that good governance and solid leadership can play in improving the effectiveness of aid and improving life chances in some of the world’s most challenging environments. While myriad challenges remain, there have been a number of successes in making aid more effective. In the last ten years, for example, access to antiretroviral drugs has increased tenfold since 2001, measles deaths have been halved due to vaccination programmes and malaria rates have been cut dramatically.
Blair believes that many African leaders are showing a great commitment towards development and are working hard to improve outcomes for their societies. Despite this, one of the biggest problems for African governments is implementation. All to often, prioritisation is hard, resources are scarce and capacity is low. The ability of governments to implement, monitor and track performance, therefore, is severely hampered and this can derail even the best development plans.
Still, the desire to see change through exists throughout much of Africa. He pointed to the work his organisation, the Africa Governance Initiative, had done with the Sierra Leonean government to provide healthcare for under fives and pregnant women. Building capacity and strengthening the ability of government to get things done has been key. AGI works by supporting the government with experienced people on the ground.
To find out more, you can watch the video below or visit ODI’s own site, which contains all video and audio from the event.