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European donors like to think they are the ones pushing the envelope in development policy. Many have recently promised huge increases in aid and enthusiastically embraced ideas such as donor pooling.
Into this mix comes one of the bolder ideas for financing development, the British proposal to create an International Finance Facility. But the IFF, which has yet to be launched, is already going in a worrying direction by focusing on quantity rather than quality. As a result, instead of radically remaking the international aid system, the IFF could wind up merely reinforcing some of the reasons aid works so poorly.