17 March 2015

Labour Beyond Aid

The UK Labour Party has a new pamphlet out with ideas for future development policy, labelled "Beyond Aid."

How does it measure up?

CGD looks at 7 components of "Commitment to Development" in the annual index; aid, trade, migration, security, environment, technology, and finance.

Labour's pamphlet talks extensively about 2 of the 6 non-aid components of the index: the environment and security.

There is next to nothing on trade, migration, technology, and finance.

Out of 26 countries, the UK ranks 4th overall which is pretty good. Though that varies a lot between the components; Aid (4), Trade (7), Finance (2), Migration (13), Environment (11), Security (7), Technology (20).

There's more to International Development than Aid, but also more than climate change and security. 

The Emerging Middle Class in Africa

Apparently I missed this, but a book I contributed to back in 2012 along with colleagues at OPM was published by Routledge in October last year, edited by Mthuli Ncube and Charles Leyeka Lufumpa at the African Development Bank.

It's a snip on Amazon at only £27.99, or you can read it on Google Books here.

I'm not sure which is my favourite review;
"This book is uplifting, methodologically and intellectually sound, and rich in policy prescriptions. A must read for researchers, educators, policy makers, and global partners. As AERC (www.aercafrica.org) Executive Director, I am heartened by this policy and intellectually rich book"
–Lemma W. Senbet, Professor and Executive Director, African Economic Research Consortium and The William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, University of Maryland, USA
"a timely topic, by genuine experts" –Paul Collier, University of Oxford, UK
Cheers Paul.

13 March 2015

Never Mind Development, here's Nirvana

The biggest cash transfer programme in the world continues apace, as subsidies for fuel in India which used to be paid to fuel companies are being redirected into consumer's bank accounts.
Continuing the push to extending coverage under the Aadhaar program, targeting enrollment for 1 billion Indians; as of early February, 757 million Indians had been bio-identified and 139 [million] Aadhaar linked bank accounts created;
The heady prospect for the Indian economy is that, with strong investments in state capacity, that Nirvana today seems within reach. It will be a Nirvana for two reasons: the poor will be protected and provided for; and many prices in India will be liberated to perform their role of efficiently allocating resources in the economy and boosting long run growth.
From India's recently published 2014-2015 Economic Survey led by Arvind Subramanian, the government's Chief Economic Advisor (and on leave from CGD) HT: Vinayak Uppal

11 March 2015

"I didn't come into politics to distribute money to people in the Third World!"

Justine ‘I didn’t come into politics to distribute money to people in the Third World’ Greening, the UK Development Minister, spoke at Sussex yesterday. I wanted to ask her if the above quote was true, but she over-ran the allotted 20 minutes, leaving time for only 3 questions before she was whisked off by her advisors. I also wanted to ask, given she was apparently so proud of her focus on emergencies and the UK response to Syria, why the UK has only taken in 143 Syrian refugees out of 380,000 people in need of resettlement, and whether, given her pride in cross-government collaboration, she agrees with the actual real not-taking-the-piss Foreign Office policy that it is better to let Syrian refugees drown in the Mediterranean, because rescuing them would create a "pull factor", or whether on the contrary she agrees with the churches, that this is an "abdication of moral responsibility."
She also seems to think that she invented the idea of economic development and that investing in ports and infrastructure might be an original idea. Did someone forget to brief the Minister about what the "WORLD BANK" has been doing for the last 50 years? Also whilst it may be important to make the case for aid to many audiences, this was not one of them. Seriously, she told us about the importance of aid for our own (UK) self interest about 3 different times (note probably at least half of IDS and I imagine the audience were not even British, and those that were are presumably firmly committed development people).
Snark aside, DFID gives us a lot to be proud of, we give a lot of money, and on the whole I think we give it well. It's just a bit depressing when our dear development leader looks so bored by the whole thing (or perhaps I'm just reading her as uninterested because of the alleged quote above?). Amusingly, the former accountant's eyes only really lit up when talking about a project sending folks from the Institute of Chartered Accountants to Zambia (though that is probably honestly a brilliant idea). She also clearly looked most pleased talking about the projects which involved some kind of new gadget or had some benefits for Brits - be it the aid match to double your donations to NGOs, the International Citizen Service, or school twinning. All fine ideas, but perhaps not the most transformative.
I should add that I didn’t think Mary Creagh’s vision was all that much more inspiring, despite Charlie’s reminder that the universal health care focus is a good one. Which is all quite odd in the context of the recent 0.7 bill.