Reply: "If more children had died - would that be a reason to reduce aid?"

Bad, populist posts like Elisebeth Höglund's steal attention from important issues that are not usually debated. That is the opinion of Peter Winai, researcher and author

South Africa's Statistics Act is a copy of the Swedish one. It is there as a clear result of Swedish development assistance - and the dedicated efforts of competent people.

In other cases, it is more difficult to track the results. The fact that fewer children are dying in Afghanistan and that life expectancy in Tanzania has increased is fantastic. Is it a result of aid? Of Sweden's aid? How much? We do not know and will probably never know.

If more children had died - would that be a reason to reduce aid?

This is how you can argue. Elisabeth Höglund's post is pathetic, but unfortunately her arguments are not unusual. If you had been conspiratorial, you could suspect that it was implanted: A bad, populist post speeds up and gives reason to make sensible arrangements. A nuance takes place and the debate - dies?

Attention is diverted from important issues. What is then not debated is how most of the development assistance is managed in practice. It will be interesting to follow where the debate goes.

Sida - and other actors - are sandwiched between two shields: the goals and the dimensions. Someone coined the word "aid platform". Heureka!

In addition, Sida has all the problems that a normal Swedish bureaucracy has. I do not intend to develop them here, but they are many. One indicator is the many reorganisations that the authority has undergone. Has it gotten better and better? What about the overview and access to project documents nowadays?

It is more important than ever that Sweden provides international aid. That is what most Swedes say. But in the next breath, they want to know how it goes - for aid.

Peter Winai

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