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We often hear criticism of the COD Aid approach from people who question whether a high-level incentive would really alter the behavior of recipient countries. Paolo de Renzio raised this issue in a recent blog, saying that COD Aid is unlikely to work because recipient “[g]overnments have not only insufficient capacity, but also limited political interest in using available resources to maximize development impact.” The question this raises, though, is not whether COD Aid is worth trying. Rather it is questioning whether any foreign assistance can make a difference. The appropriate counterfactuals for COD Aid are existing aid modalities which rely on extensive engagement between funders and recipients on inputs, planning and implementation. The assumption of current aid modalities is that imposing the funder’s views of planning, institutional structures, training, and technical assistance from abroad can achieve progress even when a recipient country is less than enthusiastic about a program. That is the counterfactual against which to consider COD Aid.
POV, the PBS web portal for discussion of documentaries, invited me to write a comment on Good Fortune, a film about problems with top-down development efforts in Kenya, which is to be broadcast on PBS affiliates tomorrow evening (Tuesday). Below is my comment, which is also available on POV along with a variety of other interesting responses. At noon (Eastern) Wednesday a live online chat about the film will be available at POV and syndicated here.
President Obama spoke yesterday on overhauling U.S. immigration. He went straight to the thorniest issue, what to do about the millions of unauthorized migrants already here. Obama wants a third path between the extremes of blanket amnesty and mass deportation.
That compromise approach, he goes on to sketch, would be a combination of sending troops to the border, cracking down on employers, and obliging unauthorized immigrants to:
This week, Liberians celebrated in the streets – faces painted, drums blaring, and dancing with abandon. They’re not rejoicing over some recent triumph by the Liberian soccer team or a local festival. The streets of Monrovia were overflowing because of debt relief. That’s right, debt relief. On Tuesday, Liberia secured nearly $5 billion in irrevocable debt relief from the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and bilateral creditors. It’s a massive sum