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Owen Barder reflects on his just-posted interview with me in his great Development Drums podcast series:
This is, I think, a microcosm of a bigger story about aid as a whole. There is plenty of evidence that aid improves people’s lives, for example by providing food, water, education and health. It is much harder to show that aid catalyses economic, social and political transformation. (This is partly because, even if aid did have such effects, they would be very difficult to demonstrate statistically.)
Former Vice President, Director of CGD Europe, and Senior Fellow
As in the case of microfinance, the aid industry tends to over-promise and under-deliver. Everyone wants individuals and countries to be able to stand on their own two feet, and not depend on hand-outs from others. But it does not follow that microfinance can bring this about for individuals, nor that aid can bring it about for countries. Setting this as the standard for success undermines the case for both, by neglecting the very important and demonstrable success of both against more realistic objectives, of helping people to live better lives while that process of development is taking place.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
On Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of State at the Department for International Development, kicked off DFID’s Energy Africa campaign at an event hosted by the Shell Foundation designed to help his team figure out how the UK government can invest its political clout and an initial £30 million ($46 million) to tackle rural energy poverty in Africa. Given solar’s limitations and these risks, how can we make sure that Energy Africa fulfils Minister Shapps’s ambitious brief?