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South Asia

Overhaul of the US foreign aid system?

MSNBC is reporting:

The proposed reorganisation could lead to a takeover by the State Department of the independent US Agency for International Development.

Though it seems there will be no definitive decision for another month or so. This follows USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios’ announcement last week that he was retiring.

Negotiating aid vs. the Goliaths

It is late at night in a bar by the Zambezi river when Dipak Patel, trade minister from the impoverished southern African state of Zambia, finds the perfect way to illustrate how hard his job is. “So how many people does the Financial Times have covering trade?” he says. Well, I say, there’s me (the world trade editor), a reporter in Geneva who spends most of her time on trade, someone in Brussels, someone in Washington, and of course our bureau chiefs and reporters around the world spend a fair amount of their time writing about it.

Aceh Diary: Coordination

Coordination is the biggest buzzword within the donor community in Banda Aceh. Everybody’s heard of it, everybody’s talking about it, everybody thinks it’s a great thing, everybody wants to be a part of it; so is everybody doing it? No, not really.

Better regulation in the UK?

The U.K. Better Regulation Task Force has released its annual report. They find that 30% of the U.K.’s regulations should be trimmed – at an estimated annual savings of 1% of GDP. To the Economist this sounds like an old record; they argue for action beyond annual reports and podium statements. (They of course also cite Doing Business.)

Strange bedfellows

Alison Maitland writes in the Financial Times:

For nearly two years, [Unilever] has allowed Oxfam to probe and analyse its socio-economic impact in one very large country, Indonesia, where it sells soap, soy sauce, ice cream and mosquito coils to consumers, more than half of whom live on less than $2 a day.

Very interesting, although there is the occassional bizarre comment: