Systems for Evaluating Foreign Aid: Theoretical Benefits and Practical Problems.

by Robert Klitgaard

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Discusses why and how a developing country should systematically plan and evaluate the foreign aid it accepts, and what difficulties to expect. Donors' and recipients' interests are neither identical nor completely contradictory. Recipient nations need to know what conditions to accept, how to coordinate multifarious projects with national development plans, and how to evaluate results of each project. But any effort to centralize the patterns of donor/recipient contact can expect formidable opposition. Planners must convince ministries of the increased control they will gain from increased information; convince their own higher-ups of the importance of foreign aid; and convince donors of the advantage of having a specific source to handle complaints and queries. The most feasible system is "evaluation by coherence"--requiring project plans and reports in standardized form, for checking against national objectives. Unfortunately, much bureaucratic infighting may result. The interested parties will have predictable complaints and explanations for any problems with the system; evidence relevant to alternative diagnoses is outlined. 11 pp. (MW)

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