Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Podcast

Exploring smart policies for a better world.
Also check out our podcast miniseries, Sounds Robotic.

 

“Our Economy Depends on Maintaining the Forests” – Podcast with Brazil’s Amazon Champion

If you want a simple explanation of why climate change is a development issue, Juliana Santiago can provide it. The head of the Amazon Fund department at Brazil’s national development bank BNDES tells me “we identified that our economy was dependent on the maintenance of the forest,” and that, with 29m people living in the Amazon, many in poverty, getting rural landowners to “understand that deforestation might be a threat to their business was part of this engagement in protecting the forest and thinking about sustainable development.”

Nancy Birdsall on Cash on Delivery (COD) Aid

Nancy Birdsall A little over a year ago, I invited Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development, to join me on the Wonkcast to talk about her big new idea, Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid), an innovative approach to the delivery of foreign assistance. COD Aid has since gained a lot of traction, so I invited Nancy back to update us on recent developments, including a planned pilot program in Ethiopia.

Cash on Delivery Aid: Ayah Mahgoub on COD in Education

I'm joined this week by Ayah Mahgoub, a program coordinator here at the Center for Global Development who works on issues related to the effectiveness of foreign aid. Along with Nancy Birdsall and Bill Savedoff, Ayah is working on designing a new form of development assistance called Cash on Delivery Aid that would pay for progress on specific development outcomes.

Nancy summed up the basic idea of the Cash on Delivery approach on a Wonkcast last month—read that post or go here for a short introduction to the idea of COD Aid. While discussions are underway to develop COD aid mechanisms for a number of sectors (including water and health), the initial application is in education. In this sector,  a Cash on Delivery contract would pay recipient governments a fixed amount for each additional student who completes primary school and take a standardized test. Ayah is helping to match aid donors and recipient governments who are interested in supporting a pilot of this innovative approach. I asked Ayah to tell us about the countries where the first COD Aid programs might happen: Malawi, Ethiopia, and Liberia.

Nancy Birdsall on Cash on Delivery Aid

Can aid donors find a better way to deliver aid? My guest this week is Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development. Along with William Savedoff and Ayah Mahgoub, Nancy is working on a potential new way of disbursing foreign assistance called Cash on Delivery Aid. COD Aid seeks to devise simple, results-based contracts that reward developing countries for making progress towards previously agreed goals—such as increased primary school completion rates, vaccination coverage, or access to clean water.

In the podcast, Nancy explains that the traditional mode of giving aid, in which donors often take an active role in prescribing which actions recipient governments should take, can undermine incentives for governments to identify problems and design and implement locally appropriate solutions. "We have to create a system in which outside resources actually help the developing country governments find out what works in their particular setting," says Nancy.