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Aid, MDGs, and Gender

Swati Mishra's picture

'Development aid’ is always surrounded by questions. Some argue whether it shows results, and some worry about the way it is spent. And the imminent question is, where does it go? Well, it does have some impact. According to the latest UNESCO report ‘Financing Education in Sub-Saharan Africa’, development aid accounts for 50% of the government education budget in some countries of Africa. “Over the last decade public spending on education in Africa has increased by more than 6% each year”, says the report. However, much remains to be done to distribute it well between primary and higher education, as often requirements of the primary education system suffer. Thus, cutting aid is definitely not a smart move as explained by Liz Allcock and Jimmy Kainja in their post ‘Cutting UK aid to Malawi will hurt the poor, not the leaders’.

Where are we in terms of achieving the MDGs? The clock is ticking faster as we have just four years to reach the deadline of 2015. While the financial crisis of 2008-09 had slowed them down last year, they seem to be back on track this year, according to the Global Monitoring Report 2011. “Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, says the report. While a lot remains to be done, the discussion on what should replace it post 2015 has alreday begun. The question is: what should decide the new international agreement on development? It has to be something new, ‘for a different era of development’, says Claire Melamed in her post ‘To MDG or not to MDG?

In many parts of the world gender parity in primary and secondary education has seen significant progress, but this has not translated in reduction of inequality in social and political dimensions. Despite efforts by the Government, gender imbalances in India is worsening. “According to India’s recently completed census, among children six and under, there are only 914 girls counted for every 1,000 boys.” says a post on Freakonomics. And there are just 19.2 percent women around the world holding national parliamentary positions. See this interactive graph to know more.

The first ever press conference of a US Federal Reserve chairman spurred commentary by Paul Krugman in his post 'Bernanke Wimps Out'.