For all the noise the Jeffrey Sachses of this world have made about not giving enough money to the poor, the fact is that many poor countries are being crushed under the weight of foreign aid. I recently had a conversation with an economist in Kampala working for a government that gives a lot of money to Uganda each year. Frustrated only begins to describe how this government official felt about the impact of foreign aid in Uganda. Fundamental questions are never even considered by many donors -- questions like, should we intervene in the first place? Are we first doing no harm? And perhaps most importantly, who cares? Because if local civil servants and politicians don't care about your project, you will go nowhere fast, and burn a lot of taxpayers' money on the way.
A conference took place this week to discuss some of these issues in Accra, Ghana. Read more about it in this article by the Economist.