Main content

The Donor Circus

Life 5 - The Donor Circus
Zambia, southern Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world, where one in every six children dies before reaching their fifth birthday. Its economy depends heavily on international aid: over 40% of the Zambian government's budget comes from foreign donors. In 2003 that was $560 million. While the EU prefers to channel most of its aid through the government, the US and the Japanese still fund individual projects, such as the building of a new school which is being completed by a Japanese contractor.

There are many individual NGOs in Zambia involved in local projects, independent from government and funded directly by international donors. But now the government is arguing that it should be in control of dispersing all international development aid. The days of individual donors funding individual projects could be a thing of the past.