CGD Policy Blogs
The eyes of even the most passionate foreign aid advocate are likely to glaze if you raise the subject of “procurement reform.” But in the just-released transcript of remarks made November 12 to an audience of USAID contractors, Maura O'Neill, Chief Innovation Officer to USAID Administrator Shah, and Ari Alexander, a member of USAID’s procurement reform team, admit that USAID procurement practices have been so dysfunctional as to have caused “great difficulty” for in-country local partners. According to Mr. Alexander:
Ghana is still the hyper-darling of the development community. But if the aid bureaucracies don’t fully recognize the vast changes going on inside the country, then they are destined to just keep doing the same old thing. That’s why the Millennium Challenge Corporation is rightly proud of its compact with Ghana. But it’s the same reason the MCC should not rush into a second compact.
Ghana’s current $547 million MCC compact expires in February 2012. As reported by CGD’s Sarah Jane Staats and colleagues:
CGD plans to webcast tomorrow's panel discussion of the microcredit crisis in Andhra Pradesh featuring me, Stephen Rasmussen, Elisabeth Rhyne, Swaminathan Aiyar, and Liliana Rojas-Suarez. The process will involve bits of technology that are new for us, so it will be slightly experimental. Take it as "beta." At any rate, I'll post a link to the permanent video record once I have it.
I am really looking forward to this event because of the fantastic depth of expertise we recruited for the panel.
Economists are fond of speaking about second best solutions so it was perhaps not surprising that my friend and former colleague Shahrokh Fardoust, one of three editors of a new World Bank volume on the G-20 development agenda, invoked this familiar idea in the face of a friendly but pointed critique of the G-20 by CGD/Peterson joint fellow Arvind Subramanian.
This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.
Browsing through Wikileaks to try to understand what the fuss was all about, Alan came on an interesting cable (10Beijing367) about African views on possible cooperation between China and Western donors on aid to Africa. According the summary of a cable from the U.S. embassy in Beijing, reporting on the views of African diplomats stationed there:
As we have reported before, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is required to have one of four public board members in place to constitute a quorum and make decisions. Today’s tally: zero. And it’s looking almost impossible that that number will change in time for the December 15th MCC board meeting.
The QDDR pre-release consultation document says the Global Health Initiative will eventually be managed by USAID. For a number of reasons, it makes complete sense for USAID to lead the GHI.