Last week I gave a seminar at DfID in London on COD Aid. The turn-out was great—standing room only, with people from overseas offices videoconferencing in. Here is the PowerPoint I used.
Now that the leadership of DfID is committed to trying COD Aid (at least three pilots are promised), the discussion in the official aid world is switching from “Why COD Aid is Hard to Do” (‘and could you please tell me about some real-live successful examples before we try it’) to “How to Do COD Aid Well.”
When you come to the slide of the original Boston Tea Party picture, keep in mind the following: COD Aid is meant to address the problem that in aid-dependent countries (where aid replaces tax revenue) there is often ‘No representation without taxation’—a reversal of the original tea party movement’s cry. For web readers I inserted an additional slide into the web version of my presentation to explain.
Seminar participants had great feedback and good questions. Chris Berry, from DfID’s Ethiopia office, explained the current discussions his office is having with the Ethiopian government about implementing a COD Aid pilot. Rakesh Rajani, who heads Twaweza in East Africa, referred to COD Aid as an antidote to Tanzanian’ cynicism about aid; in his words, “Citizens in Tanzania are cynical too…. Aid is seen as gravy to insiders.” And Andrew Rogerson of the OECD (who has a terrific review of COD Aid here) said something like, “It is time to wrap our brain around the idea they (the recipients) will fix things in ways we (the donors) don’t.”
Both they and others had some critical points to offer as well. If you attended the meeting in one form or another please feel free to add your own questions, concerns, and complaints below or send them to me via email.