Spain’s secretary of state for International Cooperation and Ibero-America said in San Jose Friday that his country is revising its foreign aid programs to focus more on exchanging knowledge, know-how and experience and not just on providing funds.
In an interview with Efe, Jesus Gracia acknowledged that Spain’s economic crisis over the past five years has led to the imposition of a fiscal discipline from which spending on foreign aid is no exception.
“Spain has been very generous over the past 20 years across the entire region - we have contributed some $12 billion in aid to Latin America, and the region that has benefited most is Central America,” he said during an official visit to Costa Rica.
“Now and in the future we’re in an austerity process that forces us to find other kinds of foreign aid, perhaps with fewer economic resources but with the same enthusiasm,” he said.
To better define the new strategy, Gracia said that he is carrying out “frank talks with other governments to find out what is the most important thing each country needs.”
“On the basis of this dialogue we will define an adequate, efficient aid program,” he said.
The new plan, to be applied over the next four years, is based on a “geographic reorganization of aid, giving an account of what we’re doing and a review of what we have done, with an analysis of the results,” Gracia said.
“Spanish foreign aid will now be based more on the exchange of knowledge, know-how and experience than on providing funds,” he said.