Since the signing of the Paris Declaration in 2005, there has been a compact between developed and developing countries: the former would increase the quantity and quality of aid; the latter would use aid more effectively and ‘own’ their development strategies. Yet aid programmes are still driven by conflicting messages around ownership and accountability, with donor countries concerned about loss of control over aid for domestic political reasons.
As a result, a significant percentage of aid spending still goes to donor-run projects, increasing the risk of undermining local ownership and systems of accountability. Support for general and sector budgets – aid going directly to the national budgets of developing countries – is the loser. The impact is significant with, for example, government staff in Uganda having to deal with over 1,000 different projects and authorities in Cambodia hosting more than 400 donor visits each year.