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CGD Policy Blogs

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Who Would Invest in Development Impact Bonds?

Development is a risky, complex business. So it’s not surprising that development experts sometimes question why private investors would choose to invest in Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), a new model for funding and designing programs that address such seemingly unprofitable problems like disease burden or poor education outcomes.

Is Aid a Waste of Money?

At a recent book launch, I was on a panel on which we were asked whether we can show that aid is a good use of public money, if the problems it aims to tackle are complex. I replied with a half-remembered statistic, which (now that I have had a chance to look at the numbers) turns out to have been right. It was this:

One Way Not to Leave Global Fund Money on the Table

President Obama earlier this week made a last minute appeal to donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Offering a US pledge of $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors for a total US pledge of up to $5 billion, the president said, “don’t leave our money on the table.” Well, the initial commitments are in, and it appears that there will in fact be US money left on the table. Donors to the Global Fund announced total pledges of $12 billion, suggesting a US commitment of about $4 billion.

Barron's Africa Mess

Gifted travel writer Paul Theroux has written a piece on “Africa’s Aid Mess” in Barron’s Magazine.  It is certainly an entertaining read, but factual errors make it a misleading piece –and suggest a lack of due diligence on the part of Barron’s.

Is Anyone Listening to What Ordinary Africans Think?

“Too often, donors’ decisions are driven more by our own political interests or our policy preferences than by our partners’ needs.”

These charged words did not come from an energetic NGO arguing for major changes to US development policy.  They were delivered by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a high-level gathering of development officials in late 2011. 

Is Anyone Listening? US Foreign Aid (Mis)Alignment – Benjamin Leo

My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow and director of the Rethinking US Development Policy program Ben Leo, here to discuss his new CGD working paper, Is Anyone Listening?  in which he examines how well US foreign assistance aligns with the priorities of people in recipient countries. Answer: not so much or, as Ben puts it more diplomatically: “the alignment is modest at best.”

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