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Report on the Long-Term Burden of HIV/AIDS in Africa to be Launched Monday, November 29

About a year ago the Institute of Medicine assembled a committee of 12 to advise the US on the implications for its policy towards Africa of the long-term burden of AIDS there.  The two co-chairs of the committee, Tom Quinn and David Serwadda, will release the report findings to the press on Monday, November 27 here in DC, and I will help them respond to questions from the press and public.  A formal description of the committee’s mandate and a complete list of the committee members can be found here.  If you would

How $500 Million in U.S. Aid Can Help Pakistan’s Flood Victims Rebuild

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai

Last week, the Government of Pakistan hosted officials from the United States and more than 30 donor countries and multilateral agencies in Islamabad for the Pakistan Development Forum. The big news from the two-day event was the announcement that the United States would accelerate disbursement of $500 million in previously committed aid to help Pakistan meet its flood rebuilding needs. (This pledge is above and beyond the more than $500 million the United States had previously committed to the immediate humanitarian needs from the flood.) What officials did not announces is what the US flood aid will be used for. My CGD colleagues Alan Gelb and Caroline Decker have recommended one proposal that the U.S. policymakers are currently considering: directing up to $500 million to finance a housing capitalization fund for flood-affected households.

Efficiency: The Missing Link in Global Health

In a refreshing and necessary change from the last decade’s focus on more money, the 2010 World Health Report —released yesterday by the WHO—focuses part of its attention on the problem of health system inefficiencies, estimating that 20% to 40% of all health spending ($1.5 trillion USD) is currently wasted. The report indicates that this level of waste—a combined result of poorly used inputs and corruption/fraud—is of similar magnitude in both poor and wealthy countries.

India Described as "Borderline Unstable" in Just-Released QDDR Powerpoint!

I am noting with some amusement that India is labeled "Borderline Unstable" on a map of fragile states, borrowed from Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace, and asterisked with a "Not an official USG Product" (which I am not sure lets the State Department off the hook).  Borderline unstable? Really QDDR?

This is what President Obama said on his recent trip to India when he addressed the U.S.-India Business Council:

Can New Leader Get Respect for UN Population Agency?

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week named Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria to be the next executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), replacing Dr. Thoraya Obaid who held the position for 10 years. Dr. Osotimehin is a professor of medicine at Ibadan University. He served a brief time as Minister of Health in Nigeria and supported several controversial global health efforts, including polio elimination and increasing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Yarvaguda Dispatch

In my last post I wrote that microcredit bubbles are unusual among credit bubbles in not being linked to salable assets such as houses. I was wrong. In the late 1970s and early 1980s western and Japanese banks got very enthusiastic about lending to foreign governments, which, like poor people without collateral, are hard to foreclose on. Funny, this symmetry between the mightiest and weakest borrowers.

Good Aid? Bad Aid? QuODA Tracks How Donors Stack Up. Interview with Nancy Birdsall and Homi Kharas.

QUODADonors, academics, and development advocates have long recognized that not all aid is created equal. Often, the impacts of aid are blunted because it’s spent in the wrong places or isn’t coordinated with recipient government programs. How can we know which donors give aid well, and which donors need to improve? My guests on this week’s Wonkcast are Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, and Homi Kharas, deputy director of the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program. They are the co-creators of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) assessment, a new tool that tracks and compares donor programs against four dimensions of aid quality.

At Cancun Climate Talks, First the Pillars, Then the Roof

With less than a week to go until the start of the next round of global climate negotiations, in Cancun, Mexico, climate policymakers see further work on ambitious finance pledges made at the Copenhagen climate talks last year as key to progress towards collective action to avert runaway climate change. Mexico’s ambassador to Washington has stressed the value of such incremental progress.

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