Scandalously, I’ve only just finished reading the fantastic “It’s Our Turn to Eat,” Michela Wrong’s telling of the story of John Githongo, the Kenyan anti-corruption czar.
In the book, she comes down quite heavily on international donors for turning a blind eye to corruption. Her solution, offered in this interview with Guernica Mag, is not to go all Dambisa Moyo and cut aid completely, but simply to speak up a bit.
If you cut all aid to Kenya, people are going to die. So I don’t think that’s a solution. But I will say that aid donors have to look very closely at what they do. If you have a government whose ministers are setting out to steal the equivalent amount of money that they receive in aid, then you have to wonder why western donors are continuing with that relationship. I don’t think the answer is to cut them off, but the answer lies very much in doing what Edward Clay, the British high commissioner of the day, was doing. Which is to be very confrontational, to humiliate these people in public, to call them to account, to deny them visas. The aid relationship needs to be less automatic, less lazy, less complacent, and much more abrasive.