5-6 JUNE 2018 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Women contribution to raising development cooperation efficiency in Africa

How to best involve women in foreign aid operations so as to enhance their capacity to alleviate poverty in Africa

Lab debate
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
13:00 to 14:15

Public and private foreign aid are today recognized as failing to alleviate poverty in recipient countries. Donor and recipient countries’ processes are equally responsible with women among main victims. Involving them in a faulty process, will not help them. Protecting women’s rights, depends then on their capacity to improve foreign aid efficiency. Collective beneficiaries’ ownership  through civil society participation in project design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation are key. How can women lead the process with media support. Speakers have experience in private philanthropy, public development aid and in communication. Their ideas will be compared to selected proposals from 600 African organisations of the IDAY network interrogated beforehand as part of IDAY’s 10th anniversary.   

Key points

  • Issues relating to women’s rights have been under formal discussion at EU and international level since the 1970s but, it is argued, they are still no nearer being resolved.
  • Foreign aid is supposed to help alleviate poverty in some of the poorest nations on earth but there are some who say it is contributing to it.
  • Data suggests that, in some cases, the more a country receives in foreign aid the less it grows economically.
  • Women’s potential in making foreign aid more efficient is often overlooked.


Poverty remains entrenched in many parts of the world, including Africa, even though they have received substantial sums in foreign aid.

It is often argued that foreign aid can cause more harm than good because instead of helping those who need it most, the money goes to corrupt governments. It has been estimated that for every US$ 1 in Overseas Development Aid (ODA) aid going to Africa, another US$ 2 leave the continent in illicit financial flows instead of improving access to health, education and other priority sectors.

The irony is that aid could be actually contributing to the poverty of aid recipient countries. It is difficult to explain the apparent mismatch between increasing foreign aid and declining economic growth in these countries.

African countries are not the only ones where the effectiveness of foreign aid is perceived as a problem. Afghanistan also receives foreign aid designed to help it become more self-sufficient, despite its being a conflict zone.



There is room for optimism. For example, the EU’s Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 calls on donors to take gender equality into account when distributing foreign aid. The World Bank hopes to add clarity to a slightly confused situation after it completes a major assessment on the extent to which people in Africa and elsewhere benefit from foreign aid.

Organised by


Jean-Jacques Schul
International Day of the African Child and Youth
Heidi Hautala
European Parliament
Caroline Heider
Director General Evaluation and Sr. Vice President
World Bank Group
Hendrina Chalwe Doroba
Executive Director
Forum for African Women Educationalists
Assita Kanko
Writer and Founder of Polin, Political Incubator for Women
International Day of the African Child and Youth
Hauwa Ibrahim
Lawyer, Sakharov Prize laureate 2005
The Peace Institute