International alert series: The BIG Issues _ The Business of Aid

The Business of Aid – creating partnerships, combating corruption

Tuesday 19 June 2007

Presented by World Vision Australia and AusAID and supported by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA

A series of forums for dialogue, discussion and questions, on key international development issues involving and affecting the Australian community

The Business of Aid - unedited audio transcript: Forum and Questions (25Mb mp3 format)

Delivering effective, sustainable aid in the 21st Century is a gigantic challenge. Failure to create good systems of governance and corruption control have negative effects on development and can reduce the benefits of aid. But ethically, is the presence of corruption a reason not to give aid ?

This session will seek to provide answers to some of the most pressing questions about aid and corruption, including the role of the international community and multi-nationals, and both private and public sectors, in recognising and tackling the factors that create fragile states.

  • What is the relationship between corruption, governance, economy and aid?
  • What evidence exists that corruption makes aid ineffective or that aid may contribute to corruption?
  • Is corruption a reason for reducing or modifying aid?
  • What is the international community doing to tackle corruption?
  • What can policy makers, members of Parliament and the public do to help avoid the prospect of fragile states and to ensure the aid dollar is maximized?
  • How can communities, NGOs, government and the corporate sector achieve positive results?
  • What unique contributions do each of the sectors make to development?
  • How can these sectors work in partnership to develop infrastructure and industry in a sustainable fashion for developing economies?
  • How can multi-national companies be made ethically accountable?

Biographies and summaries

Bishop Alexis BilindabagaboBishop Alexis Bilindabagabo

Bishop Alexis has been a refugee three times. In 1994 he and his wife Grace (a medical doctor) were on death lists when the genocide broke out, and they fled for refuge in Zaire. After leaving them safely in Nairobi, Bishop Alexis flew back into Rwanda and established a foster care agency for war orphans called Barakabaho (‘Let them live’) Foundation. In 2006, this agency is still caring for 8,000 genocide orphans (now teenagers and young adults) in foster families across the nation, and also offers trauma and AIDS counselling. It is the largest non-government agency in the country and regarded by the government as the model family welfare agency.

In the post-genocide reconstitution of the Church, Bishop Alexis was appointed Bishop of a new diocese, Gahini, centre of the worst killings of Tutsi people. He is leading the rebuilding of the church, its schools and hospitals. He was appointed by the government to the Board of the National Committee for the Survivors of Genocide, which has been a channel of international and national funds to assist victims. He supports the new ‘gacaca’ (village) courts which are currently trying 100,000 prisoners in jails for war crimes.

His personal story of remarkable rescues during the genocide are told in his book Rescued by Angels (with Alan Nichols, Acorn Press 2001). The story has featured in a BBC Worldwide radio documentary series, and he has been featured many times in the main media as a spokesman on peace and reconciliation.

Dr Lynn Arnold AODr Lynn Arnold AO

Summary: Don't combat the inequity of corruption with the inequity of injustice

The experience of agencies such as World Vision in our development work with communities has been that there can be many impediments to a local community enjoying sustainable development prospects. These impediments can be physical constraints (availability of resources), they can be of the nature of intellectual capital (skill level within the community), or they can be socio-cultural (prevailing value systems that may have difficulty adjusting to changes in the macro socio-economic framework). However, the impediments can also be structural in terms of imperfect governance mechanisms in a national or regional context. Each of these impediments needs community-driven responses, for they cannot be foisted from outside; it is the task of INGOs such as World Vision to facilitate these community-driven responses being effective. In the area of structural impediments, the role of civil society in the face of imperfect governance mechanisms will always be critical but perhaps in many instances it is both underdeveloped and under-appreciated.

My presentation will examine the critical role of civil society in addressing the outcomes of imperfect governance mechanisms. However, it will take a wider perspective on the theme of corruption (a significant indicator of imperfect governance). The issue of corruption will not just be tackled from the perspective of economic injustice, but also from the angle of social injustice. For example, when a state refuses to protect its children, leaving them exposed to intolerable injustices such as sexual exploitation, then these should be viewed as corruptions of good governance. Sound economic management principles that reduce financial corruption are essential but not sufficient requirements for the development of holistically sound principles of good governance. A state focussed on the principles of 'commonweal' must be as concerned about social corruption as about economic corruption.

Biography: Lynn Arnold is currently Senior Director [Board Development & Peer Review] for World Vision International. In this capacity he heads a team responsible for assisting World Vision boards and advisory councils (currently 54) in the development of their governance capacity and also for administering the Peer Review program of the Partnership. He and the team also work with Vision Fund International in promoting the governance capacity of the many microfinance entities associated with World Vision.

Prior to assuming his current role in October 2006, Lynn Arnold had been World Vision’s regional vice president for Asia and the Pacific for three years. In this role, Arnold oversaw the implementation of more than 1,500 projects aimed at providing health care, education, clean water, food, shelter and technical expertise to millions of people in Asia; this involved an annual budget of about $US 250m in addition to the expenditure of the Asian Tsunami Relief program which also came under his responsibility (this latter program involving an annual expenditure in the range of $US 100-120m over the life of the program).

Prior to assuming the role of Regional Vice President, Lynn Arnold worked for six and a half years as chief executive officer of World Vision in Australia. Under his leadership, World Vision Australia increased 126% in revenues and reduced operating cost ratios by 31%. During this time he also served on a number of professional boards including the Australian Foreign Minister’s Aid Advisory Council, and the Australian Council for Overseas Aid

Before joining World Vision in 1997, for two and a half years Lynn Arnold was an executive consultant with a large Spanish media company, helping to direct investment growth. Between 1979 and 1994 he served as a member of the South Australian Parliament including over 11 years in Cabinet. After ten years serving in a wide range of senior ministries (including education, state development and agriculture), Arnold also served as premier in 1992-1993.

Lynn Arnold holds a PhD, as well as the degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of education; all these degrees were awarded by the University of Adelaide in South Australia. He also holds a diploma in senior company administration from the Escuela Superior de la Alta Dirección de Empresas (ESADE) in Barcelona, Spain. In 2004, he was awarded the Order of Australia (AO) for his services to Australia through the South Australian Parliament as Premier, and internationally through development and humanitarian aid assistance. In 2001 he received the Centenary Medal for his services to the Australian community.

Sue IngramMs Sue Ingram

Sue Ingram recently joined AusAID as Principal Governance Adviser after a long career in public policy and governance, working across a range of organisations in both Australia and overseas.

After sixteen years as a senior executive in various areas of the Australian Government, Sue joined the United Nations peace keeping mission in East Timor in February 2000, returning to the country where she had lived for over a year in the mid 70s as a postgraduate research student. Sue held a number of posts with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, including District Administrator of Aileu, the district where Falantil – the former guerrilla force – was cantoned. She coordinated reconstruction efforts and the planning and implementation of government services in the district, and provided on-the-ground management of the cantonment arrangement through the period of political settlement and demobilisation.

After the demobilisation of Falantil, Sue took up a post in the National Planning and Development Agency where her work included monitoring and reporting to Cabinet and to donors on progress against benchmarks established to measure the transition towards independence and developing the framework for East Timor’s first National Development Plan. She was subsequently appointed director for transition planning in the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, working closely with the East Timorese leadership to determine and put in place the essential machinery and institutions of government in the lead-up to independence and to downsize the international presence.

Following Timor’s independence, Sue stayed on as Chief of Staff in the follow-on UN Mission in Support of East Timor until the end of 2002, when she returned to Australia to work as a senior fellow with the George Institute for International Health, an independent research and policy body affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney.

In December 2004, Sue took up the position of Director of the Machinery of Government pillar of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. In this position she led and implemented a broad-based institutional strengthening program working across the Parliament, electoral system, public service and national integrity system in Solomon Islands to strengthen government capability, accountability and responsiveness.

Previous events

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy – valuing our cultural diversity – and building our future.