Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Templeton Foundation's Next Big Question Should Be: "How Can the Rich World Do Better?"

The Templeton Foundation's ad in Sunday's NYTimes, and the associated postings on the foundation's Web site asked "Will Money Solve Africa's Development Problems?" A quick glance at the distribution of answers is bound to cause some chagrin in the development aid world. Of the eight men asked, two said "yes," five said "no" or "no way" or "I thought so" (which I took as a 'no") and one hedged his bet with "only if."

Foreign Aid: Diagnosis without Direction

In a recent review of William Easterly's The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, published in the SAIS Review, CGD president Nancy Birdsall applauds Easterly's diagnosis of the problem with foreign aid: donors favor big, comprehensive, visible projects rather than trying to solve narrow, immediate problems. Easterly proposes a two-fold solution: remodel the entire system to raise accountability and refocus aid toward smaller, specialized programs.

Washington Post Editorial Gets it Wrong on the Volcker Report on Corruption and the World Bank; Financial Times Does Better

A Washington Post editorial today ( A Fight Over Corruption ) says that the new report by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker on the effectiveness of the World Bank's anti-corruption department, (the Institutional Integrity Department or INT)) "reserved its toughest language for the bank bureaucracy itself." The editorial then quotes from the report:

Poverty Matters Most: A Comment on the Volcker Report

Today the Volcker Commission released a report with a set of recommendations about how the World Bank can strengthen its anti-corruption procedures by reforming its Department of Institutional Integrity. This is an important and timely conversation and the report will no doubt receive a high level of attention. But it is equally important that the Bank does not put corruption ahead of its central task—the alleviation of poverty.

The Economics and Politics of CARE's Decision to Pass Up Millions in U.S. Food Aid

I join my colleague Rachel Nugent in offering Three Cheers for CARE Decision to Forego U.S. Food Aid!
U.S. food aid has a long and complicated history. Most people think of food aid as "doing good"—feeding the starving—and it is often used for this purpose. However, large amounts of food aid are sold to finance development projects, often administered by the U.S. or by NGOs. And, in the process, food aid can actually do harm.

Three Cheers for CARE Decision to Forego U.S. Food Aid

Huge kudos to CARE for taking a bold and reasoned stand on how best to deliver food aid to developing countries. Kudos as well to the New York Times for yesterday's front page coverage of the CARE decision—how remarkable to see food aid so prominently featured in the NYT!—and its other recent coverage (subscription required) of how U.S. policy affects poor African farmers. As the NYT reported:

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