In 2020, during the covid-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a finance package worth $3.4 billion to support the Nigeria healthcare system and mitigate the economic effects occasioned by the pandemic. According to the Guardian, Nigeria also had access to a $90 million World bank health fund to combat covid-19. Donations of food and other material resources were made by Cacovid, many organizations, and private individuals. As a Medical Doctor, I was excited that these donations would go a long way to support our epileptic health system and provide aid to a large number of vulnerable Nigerians affected by the pandemic. However, that excitement was short-lived.
Several Nigerians reported that they were not beneficiaries of the donations and palliatives. Unsurprisingly, spurred by hunger and desperation, On the 26th of October, the government warehouses in several states were broken into, and the citizens looted the foodstuff as the palliatives were shown to be hoarded, or resold to the public by certain scrupulous persons. While this might come as a surprise to many reading this article, in Africa, this is often the norm.
The question on the lips of many like me was, 'What happened to the donations?' Who benefited from the donations? How were the monetary donations/funds spent?
Africa’s Accountability Problem
Africa receives over 50 billion dollars in aid every year. Globally, over 2 trillion dollars is spent on philanthropic activities. These are huge figures! One question I keep asking myself is 'where's all the money going?’
According to experts, Africa's biggest challenge is accountability. It is the issue that is the base of all of the country's other problems. As shown by the events that unfolded above, funds and supplies provided to the governments and local charities are rarely, if ever, being properly accounted for. This non-accountability is particularly pronounced in charity organizations and NGOs. There is little or no communication about funds and resources supplied.
In Africa, over a hundred projects are going on at any given time. It is common to find news headlines that announce grand donations and projects running into billions. Charity organizations, funded by donations, back up many of these projects. Despite over 50 billion dollars worth of donations to Africa each year, over 433 million Africans are estimated to be living in extreme poverty. This figure keeps rising despite the unprecedented donations rates that pour in annually into the continent.
In contrast, India receives fewer donations, and the records show more results or impact from such donations. Something does not add up. What is going on with the donations in Africa?
In 1970 there were 10% of Africans living in poverty. Today; that figure is over 70%, despite the increase in the numbers of NGOs and more charity organizations involved in social projects aimed at alleviating poverty and social issues. Dr. Dambisa Doyo, author of the book "Dead Aid," asserted that most Africans do not get to see the benefit from foreign aid. Only about 20 cents to a dollar ever makes it to the Africans in the best-case scenarios.
There is a clear disparity between intentions and actions, between what is intended and what is on the ground. Many people in Africa do not benefit from the donations or projects intended to improve their lives directly. In addition, there is a huge void where answers should be. This lack of information accounting for the expenditures of the donated resources, whether material or monetary, underscores the lack of accountability that is prevalent in Africa. Clearly, this shows that it is not the number of projects but the effectiveness or impacts of these projects. Who pays the price for this lack of accountability?
This lack of accountability has created several problems for Africans and the charity organizations such as
Creating a barrier to accessing funds for projects. Many NGOs and charity organizations now find that more and more people are less inclined to make donations to causes in Africa as they are well aware of the high chance that their donations will not make it to the needy.
In turn, This means that Africans who need genuine help are less likely to get that help. This lack of accountability ultimately hurts the most vulnerable, the sick, the people for whom the donations were made.
Forging a New Path for Accountability
Africa’s accountability challenges are a growing concern for Africans and members of the international community. Regarding donations and foreign aid, monies donated must be well accounted for, and must be shown to deliver the expected impact. Determined to help bridge the gap, the Deep Knowledge Group has developed an innovative solution utilizing DeepTech known as African Charities Dashboard.
The African Charities Dashboard promises to be highly effective and comes highly recommended for its ability to highlight transparency and track accountability. Built as a database aggregating over 10,000 charities, it is designed as a direct response to combat the problems of accountability across the globe. The Dashboard is an excellent tool for fostering and showcasing transparency in nonprofit organizations, particularly in regions, such as Africa, where accountability and transparency are critical issues. And with plans of creating a Charity Bank in the future, backed by blockchain technology, donations will reach the very people in need of these donations.
Africa needs a way to keep its donor projects transparent. People should be able to view, collaborate and track the progress of projects and see where resources have been allocated and how they are being utilized. Beyond this, the results should reflect the efforts at all times. The African Charities Dashboard ensures that transparency and accountability is not an exception, but the default.