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USAID COVID-19 supplies are sitting on a shelf.

The Enduring Struggle Against Aid Instrumentalism

John Norris’ fascinating new book The Enduring Struggle: The History of the US Agency for International Development, provides an authoritative history of US foreign assistance from the end of the Second World War until today. It is packed with anecdotes and quotes from people who were working on projects and working in the halls of Washington (although that many anecdotes and quotes in 300 pages was tough on those of us vainly resisting the transition to bifocals). However it is the book’s conclusion, in particular, that should be required reading for those in Washington who oversee America’s assistance programs.

Work Visas to the US: How Do We Make Sure Women from the Northern Triangle Don’t Get Left Behind?

Gender equality has been touted as a political priority by the Biden administration, as demonstrated through the establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council, as well as its commitment to unveiling a whole-of-government strategy to advance gender equity and equality later this year. Here we make the case for why US immigration policy needs a gender-intentional approach, and how the administration should apply this approach towards policy in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

A graphic of financial markets

The Case for Liquidity Support for Frontier Markets

The puzzle for development finance experts has been that the capital flows from developed financial markets to developing countries are nowhere large enough to meet financing needs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), even if official assistance were to be ramped up significantly. Cyclically low investment returns in the developed world should make investment in developing countries quite attractive, yet investments in frontier markets, particularly in Africa, do not begin to meet the development needs of these countries.

Sunset at a natural gas plant. Adobe Stock

Climate Colonialism Update: More Proposed Bans on Financing of Fossil Fuels (Only for the Poor)

Earlier this year, I wrote about the ban on the international financing of fossil fuels, proposed by Special Envoy John Kerry and others. I argued that such a ban would be particularly devastating for poor countries that are reliant on institutions such as the World Bank to finance much-needed energy projects. For now, the world’s richest countries (also the largest shareholders in the World Bank) have allowed the financing of natural gas projects when no other alternative is available. But this may not last long,

A humanitarian worker distributes aid.

Beyond the Grand Bargain: The Humanitarian Financing Model Needs More Radical Change

The global scale of the pandemic has not only placed new constraints on the current humanitarian financing model. It has also revealed, once more, chronic difficulties to pre-arrange resources in the face of predictable needs and to channel resources efficiently to the frontlines. As the system faces this and other threats—climate change and an increase in conflict—financial resources are outpaced by the growth in needs. Now is the time to collectively agree more ambitious changes

What Happened to Dropout Rates after COVID-19 School Closures in Ghana?

Like most countries across the world, Ghana closed schools for long stretches of 2020. In this blog, we present findings from a nationally representative household survey carried out in March 2021 on the effects of the pandemic on education in the country.

An image of COVID patients and a doctor in Africa.

Plus ça change: COVID-19 and Its Collateral Impact during the Vaccine Era

Over the past year we partnered with researchers in Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda to document, from a whole-of-health perspective, what we know about the nature, scale, and scope of COVID-19’s disruptions to essential health services in those countries, and the health effects of such disruptions. In a working paper released today, we build on a blog we published in March when we released working papers from each country team (the papers are available here: Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda). In this new working paper, we summarize the results and lessons across the four countries in more detail.  We also tie together many of the blogs we have written on this topic over the past year (this series of blogs can be found here).

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