2nd October 2012

The EU's spending watchdog recently published a report which is highly critical of the European Commission's performance in delivering key development and aid projects in Africa.

The report by the Luxembourg-based Court of Auditors delivers a scathing verdict on the effectiveness of a series of multi-million pound schemes to improve access to clean drinking water and better sanitation in sub-Saharan countries.

Spot checks by auditors found that fewer than half of the projects examined adequately met the beneficiaries’ needs. The report concludes: "The Commission could and should do better."

This stinging rebuke must act as a wake-up call for the Commission.

In these tough economic times it is vital that every pound we spend on foreign aid goes to the right place and achieves the right result. We can't go on spraying around taxpayers' cash willy-nilly with no proper regard for the eventual outcome and value for money.

EU aid is vital to the developing world and to the global community as a whole, but this kind of sloppiness gives it a bad name. The people we employ to deliver and supervise these aid programmes on the ground need to get their act together.

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