The development landscape has shifted over the past three years. Public spending decreased in the development sector, both by international donors and African countries, primarily as a result of the global recession and its lag-effect. The aid slowdown has increased the value of development investment for beneficiary countries and, simultaneously, stimulated greater demand for evidence and results. Thus, Khulisa’s work has undergone significant changes with more assignments in evaluation, performance assessments and data quality assessments and less focus on providing routine monitoring support.
Economic Landscape Opens Window of Opportunity
The reduced public spending has increased the need for more efficient and effective aid. Internationally, donors require a higher return on their social investments. Many are now required to measure their investment effectiveness. Concurrently, empowered African governments insist on aid that targets their growing social problems. Consequently, there is a compelling argument to apply donor funding in an innovative, efficient and effective manner. The challenge for African development consultancies is that donor countries suffer growing unemployment at home, thereby creating pressure to tie procurement of goods and services to their own nationals. This tied aid syndrome is a natural phenomenon, but is often detrimental to beneficiaries.
Some international development professionals are willing to parachute into unfamiliar contexts, creating a mismatch between country requirements and donor sponsored professional resources. African governments often suffer from “the wrongperson-for-the-job” syndrome supplied by external funders, while the problem is exacerbated when recipient countries extend scarce public sector resources to address donor objectives that are not necessarily a priority. This leads to a waste of both human and financial resources.
These challenges create opportunities for Khulisa, as our staff, consultants and networks are embedded in the African context. We provide the insights to understand the historic, current and future impact of development programmes and the optimisation of funding to effect positive social change. At the same time, there is a need for strong partnerships between donor countries, private firms and NGOs to address the disparity between donor resources and African governments’ needs. Khulisa has a fundamental role to play in measuring development impact, building capacity and facilitating partnerships between donors and African governments. These partnerships are bearing fruit and many of the donors and recipients supported by Khulisa have developed their own internal monitoring mechanisms resulting in more reliable data that is available to measure performance and outcomes.
Development in Africa – the Future
The international donor community and African governments require cohesion between their agendas and development requirements. If not, they will continue on separate trajectories widening the gap of effective aid and making it harder for Africa to overcome its challenges and seize its numerous opportunities. Khulisa remains an enabler for donors, the private sector and national governments to assist in integrating resources and providing solid monitoring and impact analysis. Khulisa will also continue to recommend to stakeholders how to improve development projects and social investments with more beneficial, immediate and long-term gains for the countries and people of Africa.