Does aid conditionality still work?

(Not that it used to work that well)

Here is a story on Tanzania:

On Wednesday (Nov. 14) the Danish government said it would withhold 65 million crowns ($9.8 million) in aid citing allegations of human rights abuses. The minister of development cooperation Ulla Tornaes announced the decision on Twitter noting “negative developments” and “unacceptable homophobic statements.”

The day before, the World Bank suspended a $300 million educational loan following a government policy banning pregnant girls from going to school. That ban has been roundly criticized by the development community.

Tanzania most likely anticipated these specific reactions from the donor community.

netodaAnd now news reports indicate the World Bank is walking back its suspension of the $300 concessional loan. According to the Tanzanian government, the Bank’s projects in Tanzania run to the tune of $5.2b. At some point the Bank’s board’s commitment to human rights and “good governance” runs against the cold calculus of having to signal effort by the amount of cash pushed out the door each year. Also, the net per capita overseas development assistance (ODA) to African states has been in decline over the last five years (see graph).*

For perspective, Tanzania’s budget for 2018/19 fiscal year is $14b. Which means that the total rescinded aid (if the donors keep their word) currently stands at 2.2% of government expenditure. If you factor in the “implementation surpluses” that typically arise due to suboptimal absorptive capacity, it is a wash. All to say that it’s not clear that these cuts (if the donors hold the line beyond the current news cycle) will inflict maximum pain.

How much aid goes into the government’s total budget?

Despite donors not meeting their commitments last financial year, the government expects to raise Tsh2,676.6 billion ($1.1 billion) from development partners which is equivalent to eight per cent of the proposed budget total funding.

In other words, the Tanzanian Treasury (and politicians) can absorb the hit on the country’s reputation emerging from policies and practices like this, this, and this without devolving into a fiscal meltdown.

*Population data from the World Bank. Aid data from Roodman.

Italian woman faces jail for not doing “enough” housework according to husband

This is not an Onion story. And no, you did not travel back in time. It is 2016.

The Guardian reports:

An Italian woman faces six years in jail after her husband accused her of not doing enough cooking and cleaning at home.

Her husband made a formal complaint to the paramilitary Carabinieri police, saying that his wife was slovenly, failed to put meals on the table and left their home in a dreadful mess.

….. The crime, article 572 in the Italian penal code, “punishes whoever mistreats a person in their family or a person entrusted to them for reasons of education, care or custody.”

Her husband, 47, accused her of “bad management of domestic affairs”, in a case that reinforces the image of the harassed Italian wife stirring a steaming pot of pasta sauce while small children run round her feet and the man of the house puts his feet up with a newspaper.

Also this:

It is the second time in a week that the Italian judicial system has shown itself to be less than enlightened when it comes to relations between the sexes.

On Wednesday, a court in Sicily ruled that a male boss who was accused of groping three female colleagues was not guilty of sexual harassment because his behaviour was playful, not “lascivious”.

The court in Palermo said that 65-year-old Domenico Lipari had been driven by an immature sense of humour, rather than a desire for sexual gratification.