Norway has said that it is ‘worthless’ to keep funding a country which does not embrace its own resource management.
Ambassador to Zambia Arve Ofstad also revealed that widespread corruption is among the key reasons why his country is closing its resident diplomatic mission in Zambia.
The Post reported that the outgoing Norwegian Ambassador said Zambia has not done enough to curb corruption and the country’s resources have not been properly managed and distributed.
“There was a feeling that the anti-corruption fight has been going very much up and down and we feel that when a country doesn’t make enough use of its own resources, it’s not doing well enough in terms of public resource management, in terms of its distributional policies, then we should leave,” Ambassador Ofstad said.
“So why should we continue to fund you when even the resources that you collect yourselves are so unequally distributed?” He was speaking during a forum where an attendant sought to know why the Norway was closing its embassy in Zambia.
But it is not just in Zambia where Norway is pulling down its curtains. Arve also revealed that they will close other embassies across the world including the diplomatic mission in Zimbabwe.
Vices like corruption, lack of transparency and accountability have continued to affect the growth efforts including good governance, peace, stability, sustainable economic growth, and development in various African nations.
Transparency International (TI), in their annual corruption index report, indicated that corruption still affects development for over 40 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
According to TI, Zambia ranks 76 out of 148 countries, which indicates that corruption remains a serious development challenge in the country.
By pulling out of Zambia, the developmental and training projects directly funded by the mission will certainly be affected, although Norway says it will continue to provide aid.
The pulling out of Norway from the African nation should send a strong message to all other countries on the importance of not only being self-reliant but also the need to end corruption. Wasteful spending and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions and officials also ought to be controlled.
This is not the first time the country is experiencing aid cuts because of corruption and mismanagement of funds. In 2010, Global Fund suspended about $300M targeted to fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In the past, other countries like Canada, Sweden, and Netherlands have frozen aid meant for health programs.
Image credit: Jens Preben Munthe