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Several thousands gathered in the port city of Busan in Korea (the fifth largest port in the world) this past week at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (#HLF4 on twitter). More than 100 ministers (mostly of development cooperation) attended. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Lee of Korea, President Kagame of Rwanda and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the opening plenary. Clinton is the first U.S. secretary of state to attend an aid forum.
Libya’s oil puts at risk its hopes of becoming a democracy. If easy oil money is captured by a few people, and they then control politics, Libya will end up looking more like Angola and less like Norway.
“The defining division these days is increasingly: open or closed? Are we open to the changing world? Or do we see its menace, but not its possibilities?”
—Tony Blair, A Global Alliance for Global Values, September 2006
It is easy to be cynical about international summits and their carefully drafted communiqués. But they sometimes matter more than people expect. (If they didn’t, why would government officials put so much time and effort into negotiating the text?) Even if the text is often a bland compromise, these meetings can help to move an issue forward, by locking in a new consensus which forms the platform for further progress.
Last week the respected British Medical Journal published a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Mills et al. suggesting that the emigration of physicians from Africa cost the continent billions of dollars and saved billions for the countries of destination. I share and appreciate the authors’ concern for strengthening health care systems in Africa. But the numbers they calculate are deeply flawed, and their unfortunate arithmetic should be ignored by policymakers.
A remarkable study reached the public last week. It is the first independent, rigorous, firsthand evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), an effort by the United Nations and Columbia University whose admirable goal was to show that “the poorest regions of rural Africa can lift themselves out of extreme poverty in five year’s time.” The new study shows that the MVP is far from reaching that goal at its flagship site.
This post was originally featured on Owen Barder’s Owen Abroad: Thoughts on Development and Beyond blog.
Will the largest aid donors hide behind China to excuse their inability to make substantial improvements in foreign aid? How can Busan balance the desire to be more universal with the pressing need for real changes in the way aid is given?
I had the pleasure of visiting Ghana again this month to discuss the possible implications for the country of its new middle income status, the result of rapid growth and (a rather significant 63%!) statistical adjustment. In particular, I was there to talk about Ghana’s looming graduation from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) window. This is crucial for Ghana, since IDA i
As the troubling details of the Department of Energy's loan program continue to roll out, I can’t help but think of another beleaguered agency…USAID. And, I also wonder if, in thinking how to generate new clean energy technology at home, we might also find insights to better promote development abroad? Here’s how: