EU Aid: where development goes to die

The Telegraph has a great piece lambasting the spending of the European Development Fund, an entity “managed by the notoriously spendthrift EuropeAid and has – it is fair to say – not covered itself in glory.”

Here are some of the projects that European tax money supported:

“Officials at the EDF have somehow contrived to spend thousands of pounds on trapeze lessons, a study on the development of the Pacific Coconut, flying a gamut of officials from across Oceania to a renewable energy conference in Aruba (no, really), supporting the work of the EU’s press operation in Jamaica, and a study into the ‘youth perceptions, attitudes and views towards EU development policy’ in Zimbabwe.”

Well, at least the last study on the list seems vital.  Pushing back the frontiers of science…


Great Britain has also done its fair share of funding questionable aid projects. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. “£13,500 on measuring the carbon footprint of the Dakar off-road rally in Bolivia
  2. £4,757 to promote Moldova fashion industry
  3. £970 to promote ‘safe and responsible use of Facebook’
  4. £6,000.72 on anti-littering campaign in Jordan
  5. £3,400 to help find female mates for endangered fish in Madagascar”

Obviously not huge sums of money,  but it does make you wonder how well they are spending the rest of their budgets.  The Telegraph article is titled “Britain spends on foreign aid like a drunk at closing time” and notes that “in a Government supposedly wracked by austerity, officials at the Department for International Development (Dfid) had to spend £3.7 billion in just eight weeks.”