A few days ago the World Health Statistics 2012 Report released its annual compendium of statistics. No doubt, it was a lot of work to compile—to verify every number in every cell, for each country and indicator. The WHO should be commended for providing this invaluable global public good. A sincere request: the Report would be more user-friendly and useful if the Report came with spreadsheets in downloadable tables (much like the World Malaria Report), and if the Report’s tables were consistent with their main database, the Global Health Observatory (GHO). For example, the coverage measures of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) which were included in the Report are absent from the GHO, as far as we can tell. (On an unrelated note, we did notice that the GHO recently added hand-washing as an indicator, perhaps in response to a recent blog—kudos to WHO!)
CGD Policy Blogs
On Friday evening, the governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) selected a new president: British civil servant Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The decision is important because the EBRD has recently taken on a major global challenge: assisting the countries of the Arab Spring. It also matters because the selection process raised the bar for open, transparent and merit-based leadership selection at other international institutions, including the World Bank, IMF and the other regional development banks.
President Obama announced $3 billion in new private sector investments in agriculture in three African countries at a packed event in Washington, D.C., last Friday. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is the cornerstone of the United States' 2012 G-8 commitments to development led by USAID and administrator Rajiv Shah. There's a lot to like about the partnership: presidential leadership, a link between public and private investment, and a focus on policy change. But all eyes are on how the relatively modest investments will be implemented and whether they can reach the ambitious poverty reduction targets.
This is a joint post with Christian Meyer.
One of the pressing questions for Jim Kim in the years ahead as the World Bank’s new president is what to do as many countries graduate out of IDA, the bank’s fund for grants and concessional loans to the poorest countries. To generate ideas and possible directions for IDA’s business model, CGD has convened a Future of IDA Working Group. The group’s final report with recommendations is due out in early summer, in time for ample discussion prior to the IDA 16 Mid-Term Review this fall.