Aid is amazingly good value for money. For the same money the government willingly spends to save a life in a developed country such as the UK, we save around 100 or even 1,000 lives in the developing world.
Yesterday, Lant Pritchett expressed his bewilderment at my open letter to Bill Gates advocating cash for the poor rather than chickens. I think Lant’s right and he’s wrong. We have to focus on the big picture and economic growth as a society, but I think there’s a strong argument for directly tackling the worst poverty now.
CGD founding president Nancy Birdsall has seen a few US presidents come and go in her long career as a leading development economist, but her message to all occupants of the White House has remained fairly steady: Enact smart policies that help developing countries build stable, prosperous economies of their own—and that will help people at home too. This week she joins the CGD Podcast to talk about some of those ideas, and why development should be a priority for the next US president.
At the World Bank’s Annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Financing Forum this year, I took part in a mock competition to help determine the topic of next year’s forum. I was up against Larry Gostin, who argued that the 2017 forum should focus on equity and human rights, and Sara Bennett, who made the case for it to be the political economy. My pitch was for the forum to focus on efficiency—or value for money—in UHC reforms, and here’s why.
Our recent report on next generation financing models looks at how global health donors, specifically the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, can enhance the health impact of grants by tying grant payments to achieved and verified results. Yet there are several ways to condition payments on performance, and some ways would likely work better than others. Can economic theory suggest specific features of contract designs which would generate more health for the money?
This week, the Global Fund partnership will meet in Tokyo to plan for its fifth voluntary replenishment, covering the period 2017-2019. The stakes are high: in an austere budget climate, the Global Fund’s ability to raise the needed resources—and then to spend them effectively over the subsequent three years—will have outsize importance in determining the trajectory of the historic fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
When the next natural disaster strikes, Will MacAskill does not want you to donate to the relief effort. And if a relative dies from a disease, he doesn’t think you should try and raise money for that cause. Rather, he wants you to focus on the "ongoing disasters" that sicken, maim and kill thousands of people every day, mostly in the developing world.
This week, emerging economy governments and multinational pharmaceutical executives announced they have agreed to a new way of working together, which should ensure people in those countries get the medicines they need at affordable prices. I’m glad to see this new framework for better priority-setting become a reality.
After a successful replenishment earlier this year, the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is thinking through how to maximize the impact of the money it has raised. One hot issue is graduation from Gavi support. Currently, the Alliance uses an income cutoff loosely based on eligibility for IDA — soft loans from the World Bank.