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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

World Bank Results Initiative: The U.S. Should Support It – But with Independent Verification Please

For more than two years, the staff of the World Bank have been developing a new lending instrument that would link financing to measurable results within countries. If approved, it would be the third instrument at the World Bank; the two that exist now are “investment loans” under which inputs, not results, are financed; and policy based loans, under which policy changes are financed.

Of Penn, Pigs and Cod

If there is one thing that Development Experts hate, it is celebrities acting as if they know something about development.  Of course, if there’s another thing that at least some Development Experts hate, it is other Development Experts acting as if they know something about development.  The good news for those folks, at least (and you know who you are): if Development Experts are as clueless on how to promote development as the celebrities, maybe the celebrities aren’t the big problem.

Responding to Worries about COD Aid

This is a joint post with Owen Barder.

In a recent blog post in the Guardian, Jonathan Glennie welcomes the new focus on results in foreign aid and has some good things to say about Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid) in particular. (We especially like this: “COD Aid demonstrates a post-ideological humility regarding how to achieve development.”)

In his article, but even more so in readers’ reactions below it, there are some questions about the possible effects of linking aid to results. We think that the commenters are right to raise these worries, because they are concerns that we share. But we believe that these concerns are relevant for other forms of results based aid, and to an even greater extent for conventional forms of aid, and that COD Aid would in fact go a long way towards allaying them.

Here are the main worries raised, with some reflections on whether and how they apply to COD Aid:

Can the World Bank Pay for Results or Will Critics Make It Impose Conditions?

Recently my colleague Alan Gelb and I attended a consultation at the World Bank’s annual meeting of its proposed “Program-for-Results” (P4R) policy. This is a remarkable step for the World Bank – the first time in 30 years that it is proposing a significantly new lending instrument. For now, the Bank can disburse funds to clients for expenditures on inputs (investment loans) or when those clients have enacted policies (policy loans).

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