Figure 1 - Germany in Ghana: financing free primary education for all. Oxfam. n.d. This artifact describes an example of foreign economic aid and with further examination, demonstrates aid effectiveness. http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/aid-effectiveness/aid-works/germany-ghana-education?utm_source=oxf.am&utm_medium=ZhN&utm_content=redirect
Despite controversy surrounding foreign aid, it can be critical for the lives for impoverished people around the globe who greatly benefit, especially health-wise. Seear (2012) argued that, “the fact that the aid industry is easily criticized or that foreign aid has often been done badly in the past is not a valid argument against the concept of aid; it is an argument in favour of doing it properly” (p. 267). It is important that donor countries ensure that aid is as efficient as possible, providing appropriate support rather than solely charity. It is also important that it is untied aid that benefits the recipient over the donor. Oxfam (n.d.) claimed that foreign aid from Germany that is financing free primary education for all in Ghana is an example of aid effectiveness. Between 2004 and 2006, Germany has provided 19.6 million euros to the government of Ghana which has helped them dedicate over one-fifth of their national budget to education (Oxfam, n.d.). Providing free education without the economic means to do so as country is troubling as it may encourage dependence on foreign economic aid. However, Ghana is actually taking strides towards independence, so economic aid is being used well. Thomas et al. (2011) revealed that aid dependency in Ghana has fallen from 47% to 27% in the last decade.
In this case, Germany’s economic aid may be considered effective aid. Aid effectiveness has five essential obligations that are defined in the Paris Declaration (Seear, 2012). First, ownership requires that developing countries take the lead on projects and ensures that all levels of society participate, not just elites (Seear, 2012). It is evident that the government of Ghana, as well as the people are invested in free primary education. Also, Ghana now has its first aid policy and strategy published. “It sets objectives of reducing aid dependence, ensuring aid supports national priorities, and setting a donor performance assessment framework” (Thomas et al., 2011, p. 38). Secondly, alignment depends on aid policies that align with the needs of recipients and untied aid that uses local systems when possible (Seear, 2012). It appears to be untied aid because it is being provided directly to the government’s national budget to be used to build schools, provide teachers’ salaries and finance student grants (Oxfam, n.d.). It is unclear whether Germany require schools to built by German companies, but if so Ghana is working towards correcting this. Ghana’s aid policy clearly states that budget support is their preferred method of aid and that changes must be made to ensure alignment with government priorities and systems (Thomas et al., 2011). Inoue and Oketch (2008) argued that public subsidies of education are important for Ghana’s communities as they relate to health and poverty by lessening inequities of opportunity for education and therefore incomes. Free primary education for all aligns well with Ghana’s needs. Thirdly, harmonization signifies that, “donors should avoid overlap by joining forces to fund particular broad segments, identified by the recipient, such as supporting a national education plan” (Seear, 2012, p. 277). This is exactly what Germany, along with other countries are doing for Ghana to avoid aid fragmentation.The fourth requirement is results-based management which highlights the need to measure results as it helps allocate funds, detect problems and improve future project design (Seear, 2012). The artifact demonstrates successful results and their accountability models require a measurement of progress. The last requirement is mutual accountability between donor and recipient, as well as between recipient government and citizens (Seear, 2012). Ghana is becoming more accountable to citizens, rather than just donors as it tracks school budgets and supports national audit institutions, community monitoring organizations and free independent media (Thomas et al., 2011). Also, Germany’s aid is monitored to provide transparency and accountability. After careful review it is clear that this is a case of relatively effective aid and that Ghana is on the right track regarding education. Germany’s aid is not hindering the pathway to further success and independence.
Inoue, K., & Oketch, M. (2008). Implementing free primary education
policy in Malawi and Ghana: equity and efficiency analysis. Peabody
Journal of Education, 83(1), 41-70.
Oxfam. (n.d.). Germany in Ghana: financing free primary education for all.
Retrieved from http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/aid-
Seear, M. (2012). An introduction to health. Toronto, Canada: Canadian
Scholars’ Press Inc.
Thomas, A., Viciani, I., Tench, J., Sharpe, R., Hall, M., Martin, M., & Watts,
R. (2011). Real aid: ending aid dependency (3rd ed.). London, United