Address to Conference on Dutch Africa Policy

Address to Conference on Dutch Africa Policy Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

I am very glad to join you today to comment on the Dutch relationship with Africa. You have asked me here to give you my perspectives as an African, and that is unusual because foreign policy is usually formulated as a supply- side business. So I thank you for testing the market by having me here. This invitation is a good indication of your commitment to improving your already laudable record.

I am all the more happy to make these remarks in my new capacity as the founder and president of the recently established African Center for Economic Transformation, ACET for short, an non-profit policy research and advisory institution that is headquartered in Ghana. ACET will be providing African governments with the necessary analytical and practical resources to develop strong economic policies.

Let us turn now to your relationship with Africa. Aside, your own evaluation report, on which I will comment in just a minute, there are a number of others which have compared the Netherlands against other donors. Many years ago, USAID conducted an evaluation that compared village water supply projects of 22 donors in Tanzania—the Dutch program was clearly the best. Most recently, the Center for Global Development, the renowned Washington-based think tank, in its Commitment to Development Index, has ranked you consistently at the top; you were ranked first in the CDI over the last two years. Two years ago, the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD reviewed the Dutch aid program and found it exceptionally good. One of the reasons for their praise is demonstrated by this gathering today. In this meeting, you are sharing responsibility across the private sector, the development NGOs and many other civil society organizations. Your foreign policy positions vis-à-vis Africa have been consistently progressive and positive, compared to many other OECD countries.

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