Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) – The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has praised Czech development investments in its first assessment of this kind in history, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Though not much money is spent on development aid, the investments planned by the Czech Development Agency and the Foreign Ministry in developing or crisis-afflicted countries are smart, the OECD says.
The Foreign Ministry will officially present the data from the OECD assessment, which LN has exclusively at its disposal, on Tuesday afternoon.
“The first assessment in the form of an independent audit shows that the system of development cooperation in our country is set well and that we compensate a lower investment volume by a higher efficiency. Empathy is assessed positively, which means that we really offer what a recipient country needs the most, we fund practical solutions instead of expensive consultants,” Deputy Foreign Ministers Martin Tlapa, in charge of development aid, told LN.
One of the highly appreciated projects is support for home care care in Moldova and the geological mapping in Ethiopia, which creates the basis for the future construction of infrastructure in this poor African country, LN says.
The paper also points out that the current development aid does not have the character of charity, which many people still think, but it rather focuses on strategic investments to prevent mass migration from developing countries, primarily in the Middle East and Africa.
In this respect, Czech development aid is in harmony with the European strategy.
Last year, the EU established the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa with the aim to prevent migration, to which the Czech Republic also contributes. It is less expensive to invest in infrastructure, services and civil service in the countries from which migrants might flow to Europe than to support millions of refugees who burden the welfare systems of European countries, LN says.
The OECD in its report recommends that the Czech Republic target only a few countries instead of splitting its development aid among too many countries and projects. This is also reflected in the Foreign Ministry’s latest development aid strategy, LN writes,
Czech diplomacy will ow focus on six selected countries, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Georgia, Moldova and Zambia, where it has its diplomatic missions. This is important as in the future, representatives of the Czech Development Agency will monitor ongoing projects on the spot, which is also one of the OECD recommendations.
In each of these countries, Czech investments will go to three projects. In Zambia, for instance, the development of modern farming, education and social and healthcare services will be the focus, while in Ethiopia, Czechs will primarily support farming, access to clean water and education.
In accordance with the OECD recommendations, Czech development aid will focus on long-term strategic investment plans instead of a high number of small projects, LN writes.
However, it adds, the Czech Republic must increase both the volume of finances and the number of people working with development aid.
Prague still lags behind its international commitment of spending 0.33 percent of GDP on development activities. It would like to meet it by 2030.
However, the sum has been rising in the past few years. In 2014, the Czech Republic spent five billion crowns or 0.12 percent of GDP on development aid.
Other finances will be needed to enable experts from the Czech Development Agency to work directly at the embassies and consulates, LN adds.
The OECD also recommends that NGOs and the business sector cooperate more in development aid.
“There are still few businesspeople involved in the development aid system. We must also prepare new products that, apart from subsidies, will offer advantageous financial services, such as loans and guarantees,” Tlapa told LN.