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I am not thrilled to continue the conversation about Dambiso Moyo’s book. But Duncan Green, in a useful review of the reviews, notes that Dead Aid is now 3rd on Amazon’s U.S. sales list, so the initial hype may have a long-lasting influence.
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”.
Five years after Africa was centerstage at a meeting of the G7 heads of state in Gleneagles, it has all but vanished from the priorities of policymakers from the rich and emerging economies. At the G20 Summit in London this week, heads of state will debate new resources for the IMF, in the range of $250 billion. But these resources will likely be deposited in the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) facility, which will be far too expensive and out of reach of most African countries.
Last week, Bill Easterly and colleagues formally launched the new Aid Watch initiative at the Development Research Institute at NYU. Aid Watch is meant to serve as an independent monitor of the aid practices of official development agencies, through research, events, and a blog.
Last week the German Marshall Fund released the report of a Transatlantic Task Force on Development. Formed in spring of 2008, the Task Force was led by former U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe and Swedish Minister for International Development Gunilla Carlsson. Its purpose was to formulate a common U.S.-Europe development agenda, as a basis for renewed transatlantic cooperation in tackling global challenges. I was one of 22 European and American task force members.
President Barack Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24 isn’t officially a State of the Union Address, since he has just recently taken office. But it will look and sound exactly like a State of the Union, and that can mean only one thing: time for CGD’s ever popular State of the Union (SOTU) BINGO!
“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you. . . . And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.”
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.