Norway will spend 41 billion NOK on development assistance next year. In a new report from the Office of the Auditor General, the State Department has come under fire for investing several billion kronor in a World Bank fund, without being able to document the results of using the money for those in need of help.
He also criticizes the previous aid stopper, Jens Magidal, the Norwegian aid and the lack of results. He worked as the State Department’s special envoy to Somalia and in a number of relief organizations. Today retired. Majidal says in a case on nrk.no that it is impossible to defend the current spending on aid, because aid is not working.
– Sweep billions away
Auditor-general Per Christian Vos says the impression is that the State Department is just raking in billions without worrying about the results. But a lot of money is spent on management and operation.
– The development assistance industry has become a large industry that must be managed. It happens with well-paid experts. And you have to ask yourself the question, says Voss, if this is the way we want it.
– I find it easy for the State Department to put money into money at the United Nations or the World Bank. But the question is whether more direct assistance to the recipient country would not produce a greater result in this area, says Voss.
In 2020, more than 4 billion NOK went to various funds in the World Bank. The money was distributed to 143 different countries. Among the countries that received support from the Norwegian development assistance funds are Saudi Arabia, Poland, Bulgaria and Russia.
– There are too many countries, Voss says, and this is against the targets set by the European Parliament for development assistance.
Warns against the decoration of reports
The report also states that the State Department selects “happy things” when informing Parliament. While projects that fail will be disqualified. Per-Kristian Foss’s advice is as follows:
– Stop decorating letters to Parliament. Also, be open and realistic about what isn’t going well.
Refuses to spend money
Minister of State Björg Sandkiar (Sp) told NRK that criticism from the OAG would be carefully studied, but previous reports had concluded that it was effective to invest development assistance funds in the funds. She does not agree that a lot of the aid money goes to the administration.
– Sandkjær says the need in the world for help is greater than we can meet, and it’s not true that the State Department is having problems getting rid of the money.
Sandkjær is also responding to criticism from the former senior Foreign Ministry official, Jens Magidal. She believes that Norway’s role in Somalia since 2017 has led to significant changes.
She notes that Norway has helped Somalia get rid of some debt. The Somali authorities are grateful for that, and it allows the authorities better conditions to build up their financial resources, says Björg Sandkiar.
– Norway spends 40 billion Norwegian kroner on aid to 143 countries. Do we spread it too thin?
– We have some partner countries that we work with very closely when we work from country to country. Then we have other types of support through funds. Some countries may need to be managed by others who have experience in that country.
– What are the objectives of this government for development aid?
– We have some topics that we really care about. We must better link aid to work for a better climate, we must redouble our efforts against hunger and we must advance women’s rights and equality.
– What would you cut to be able to prioritize these areas?
– Bjorg Sandkiar concludes that the development assistance budget is much higher next year than it was this year.
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