Danielle Romanes has suggested that if AusAID is short of capacity to administer the planned increase in aid, it can be effectively outsourced. Hugh White accepts the point. But how should we evaluate these alternative channels?

The World Bank, currently by far the main channel for outsourcing, seems to have its own problems, if we are to believe the recent report of a team from the Bank's alumni association. It sounds pretty dire:

The Bank that the new President inherits is under-performing. It has a very cumbersome inefficient internal structure...Morale is not good and the average length of tenure of Bank staff is a shockingly low 3.5 years...The major threats to the Bank stem from: 

  • the lack of a clearly articulated vision combined with a passion for development; 
  • poor HR policies that have allowed sectoral expertise to erode and have made nationality an increasingly important criteria for senior level appointments; 
  • failures to deal with clear cases of under-performance that have hastened decline of technical units and have eroded the espirit de corps of Bank staff, 
  • a tendency to define the role of the Bank in terms of visibility at international fora rather than its impact on the global economy; and 
  • advancement of a series of isolated initiatives, often donor financed, that has left the institution as a second-string player in many arenas and a prime-time player in none.

Photo by Flickr user arvidbr.