Foreign aid is often mentioned as the first and easiest thing to cut, particularly in a Republican administration with a Republican Congress. But maybe not. Consider five points.
CGD Policy Blogs
World Bank Results Initiative: The U.S. Should Support It – But with Independent Verification Please
For more than two years, the staff of the World Bank have been developing a new lending instrument that would link financing to measurable results within countries. If approved, it would be the third instrument at the World Bank; the two that exist now are “investment loans” under which inputs, not results, are financed; and policy based loans, under which policy changes are financed.
Recently my colleague Alan Gelb and I attended a consultation at the World Bank’s annual meeting of its proposed “Program-for-Results” (P4R) policy. This is a remarkable step for the World Bank – the first time in 30 years that it is proposing a significantly new lending instrument. For now, the Bank can disburse funds to clients for expenditures on inputs (investment loans) or when those clients have enacted policies (policy loans).
It is thrilling to watch the overthrow of despots and dynasties as people power erupts across the Arab world. But the headiness of the moment can only lead to durable political change and meaningful economic progress if the new governments that emerge find a better way to handle oil revenue and other easy money (rents, in econo-speak) that have corrupted the outgoing regimes.
A new year calls for a development policy wish list. My wish list is about what the rich and powerful global actors– mostly but not solely in the United States – can do to improve lives among the poor and vulnerable around the world in the coming year.
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.
This posting is joint with Julia Barmeier
According to its website, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has stopped accepting nominations for its UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. But we are guessing that the applicant pool remains quite small. Frankly, who would want his or her name affiliated with one of Africa’s worst dictators? Besides UNESCO, that is.
This time it is different. The G-8's statement on African development is focused largely on an often-neglected area--the private sector.
Previous G-8 statements have focused mostly on aid to Africa and have immediately generated a large volume of commentary on whether or not funding levels from rich countries are adequate, reflect prior commitments, etc.