Emerging donors chip away at aid industry's status quo

Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:07am EST
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By Alex Whiting

LONDON (AlertNet) - Where most expat aid workers fear to tread in Mogadishu, recently arrived Turkish aid workers have been driving in the streets, swimming in the sea and praying in local mosques.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited Somalia in August, the first head of a non-African state to do so for nearly 20 years. The Turks have since opened an embassy, started work on the international airport, offered Somalis university places in Turkey and made plans to build a new hospital.

"Turkey is an animating force in Somalia ... The people honestly love them," said Mustakim Waid, who worked in Mogadishu for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) -- the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations.

From Turkey to Brazil, India to Saudi Arabia, a growing number of non-Western donors are bringing fresh funds, a different mindset and their own experience of managing natural disasters to the global humanitarian aid scene.

Until recently most emerging donors focused their aid on their own regions. Some, like India, China and Brazil, were also major recipients of international humanitarian aid.

But as their economies and political clout have grown, so too has their influence on the humanitarian aid system, which has traditionally been dominated by the mostly Western members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Over a decade, the volume of humanitarian aid reported by emerging powers has increased by almost twenty-fold -- to $622.5 million in 2010 from $34.7 million in 2000.

Increasingly, they are being courted by U.N. agencies and some large aid organizations for funding.   Continued...

<p>Somali patients receive treatment in a hospital run by the SOS Children's Village charity, which receives food rations from the Iranian Red Crescent, in Mogadishu January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar</p>