Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, spoke yesterday at CGD (video clip available) to describe his Millennium Villages Project. Sachs’s argument is generally that countries like India developed not by ineffectual, small amounts of foreign aid – as he argues the US delivers today – but by creating a Green Revolution. Communities learned to work together, and with fertilizers donated in part by the United States, they became able to feed themselves and eventually to begin developing.
CGD Policy Blogs
In the last two days we've had the announcement of a program to buy commercial insurance against drought in Ethiopia, and the launch of the new UN emergency fund.
New York Times: Aid Group Takes Out Insurance on Drought in Ethiopia
Two new mechanisms for financing aid are close to being agreed.
The RED campaign was launched today in London by Bono, with the help of Scarlett Johannson and Elle McPherson. The RED campaign includes an American Express credit card that gives 1% of all purchases to the, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as specially designed products from Georgio Armani, Converse, the Gap, and others. The campaign is only in England for now, but will launch in the US soon.
As Iraq descends into civil war, USAID has enlisted Women for Women International, an NGO, to run a microfinance project. They are now advertising for a “Microfinance Project Director” for Iraq.
But I am afraid your energies have been misdirected when they are used to advance an agenda that is based on two obsolete and counter-productive premises: first, that aid for Africa must be spent in Africa rather than outside it; and, second, that we must work to increase aid flows to a target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product.
The recent attacks by Islamic fundamentalists on the Danish embassies in Lebanon and Syria can be called blind, tragic, even cartoonish. To that list of adjectives, add this one: ironic. According to the Commitment to Development Index, which rates rich countries on how much their government policies help or hurt poorer countries, no nation works harder than Denmark to help people in poorer parts of the world, including predominantly Muslim nations. Few less deserve this hatred.
The article Speak softly and carry a big wallet (pdf) about the nomination of Randall Tobias as the new USAID administrator in the January 26th issue of The Economist highlights recent plans for restructuring the US foreign aid program and reviews some of the debate on the potential politicization of US development assistance. The article cites the CGD working paper “The Global War on Terror and U.S.