Rules intended to thwart terrorist groups that use charities as a front for their activities have also made it harder to move cash when lives are at stake
In a crisis, money matters: for water, food and shelter, for people fleeing war or famine, or for medical supplies in dealing with an epidemic. Yet getting money to the frontline when people are suffering is becoming harder.
The problem was highlighted when Ebola broke out in west Africa. Standard Chartered, for whom I work, handled cash transfers for many charities working in Sierra Leone as well as multilateral organisations like the UN. At the height of the crisis, Ebola infections were doubling every two weeks. Money needed to be moved quickly from central treasuries to aid workers on the ground.