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Gifted travel writer Paul Theroux has written a piece on “Africa’s Aid Mess” in Barron’s Magazine. It is certainly an entertaining read, but factual errors make it a misleading piece –and suggest a lack of due diligence on the part of Barron’s.
A $1 trillion financing partnership to support ending extreme poverty, stopping avoidable child deaths, and meeting other widely supported post-2015 development goals sounds far-fetched. But improbable action is what will be needed if we’re going to come close to making such historically unprecedented progress. Indeed, delivering on proposed zero goals is going to take a broad and deep global partnership that’s about far more than aid.
Angus Deaton’s new book The Great Escape is a must-read for those interested in development simply because it is written by Professor Deaton, a world-leading expert in trends in global quality of life. I’m not all of the way through it but have found it fascinating so far, including his argument that aid doesn’t work (mostly).
This week (September 25th), the UN General Assembly will hold a Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Alongside exhortations regarding the last two years of the current set of goals, the draft outcome document of the event calls for “a single framework and set of Goals” for the post-2015 development agenda.
It is a lesson that (development) economists need to relearn every generation: stuff is complicated and “best practices” don’t always work. But in a well-meaning attempt to find universal solutions to (seemingly) intractable problems, the development industry does seem to like proclaiming new panaceas, however poorly the last panacea played out. I’m a card-carrying member of the “stuff is complicated” party—it is one big reason why cross-country regressions haven’t taught us terribly much about the causes of economic growth.
Recentthinking around the post-2015 development agenda has focused on the goals and targets of a follow-on set of Millennium Development Goals for the period 2010–2030. These are important discussions that have clarified potential areas for goals and the plausibility of particular targets. But another approach to the post-2015 agenda is to think about what would replace the Millennium Declaration itself.
CGD has just posted a policy paper by Sarah Dykstra and me on Millennium Development Goal 8 (that would be the one on a “global partnership for development”) and lessons for post-2015. It is an updated version of a paper we submitted to the High-Level Panel on post-2015 (available here) focused on what we thought should go into their Goal 12 (“Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyze Long-Term Finance”). It won’t take more than a cursory comparison of our paper and the HLP report to see we were less than completely persuasive!