Innovations in Aid: Beginning with an End to ODA?

April 08, 2009
This is a joint posting with Ayah Mahgoub To all those concerned about the future of foreign aid, please take the opportunity to read the works included in CGD’s new Innovations in Aid mini-series. The first paper in this series “The End of ODA” is by Jean-Michel Severino and Olivier Ray, and though it was started before the current global financial crisis reached its height, it is more relevant today than ever before. In this paper Severino and Ray describe shifts in the objectives of ODA (official development assistance) over time, and conclude that it is time to reform the concept and rename it “Global Policy Finance”. The crisis is leading to a re-think of the role of aid in a more interdependent global system. In the UK and elsewhere (see my speech at the UK Department for International Development Conference on Building Our Common Future last month) the idea and name Severino and Ray propose has the potential to guide stakeholders as they think of how to effectively use foreign aid in the current global climate. This new term is in itself a key contribution of this paper, and has the potential to re-frame the objectives of ODA and bring them in line with the needs of the current global system. For more comments by the author, visit and feel free to comment on his blog post on the paper on the Ideas for Development blog site. And stay tuned for other papers in this series.


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