Coordinating Country Aid: Bella Bird, Sharmarke Farah, and Jonathan Papoulidis on the CGD Podcast

March 26, 2020

This conversation was recorded in early 2020, before responding to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic became the main focus of governments and institutions around the world.

International aid in fragile states often takes the form of a sea of disjointed projects, each with admirable goals but with no unified strategy or vision. At best, this leads to an inefficient use of resources. At worst, programs can actually work at cross-purposes, guided by different priorities.

The establishment of country platforms can help solve these problems. A country platform is a government-led coordinating body that brings together partners and stakeholders to define shared goals and coordinate development efforts in the country.

On this episode of the CGD podcast, I spoke with three guests who have first-hand experience working with country platforms: Bella Bird, the World Bank's senior adviser in the office of the Vice President of the Africa region; Sharmarke Farah, principle economic advisor to the Prime Minister of Somalia; and Jonathan Papoulidis, executive advisor on fragile states for World Vision.

Together we review the history and progress of the country platform in Somalia, the importance of country ownership, and how to make the best use of lessons learned.

Sarah Rose is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.