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Future of the Millennium Challenge Corporation?

The first three years of the MCC have been described as shaky, with only a total of $610 million being committed to just four countries. However, the authors of a recent Brookings' study remain optimistic:

Sadly, the MCA program is limping, largely as a result of self-inflicted injuries… [though] criticism of the MCC for getting off to a slow start is missing the point… The decision to create the MCC still looks sensible.

Jeffrey Sachs in Scientific American

Nothing terribly new here if you have read "The End of Poverty" or his other recent articles inspired by his work with the UN Millennium Project – though this one has a slightly more “scientific” twist:

Governments turn down private debt

More than ever, governments in developing countries have access to capital markets, but most are not using it. Instead, they have restructured their debt portfolios, cutting the share of private sector debt and increasing the share of longer-term multilateral debt... The evidence suggests that most governments are sensibly taking advantage of their menu of financing options.

Sports, business and development

Sports are universally popular – it doesn't matter if the ball is made out of leather, rags, or whether it is just a tin can. Sport also has the unique ability to engage across cultural differences, while incorporating built-in mechanisms that promote aspiration, reward effort and encourage teamwork. Accordingly, many groups (such as IBLF) have suggested that sport is an area where development partnerships between donors and businesses might flourish.

The effect of spam on the poor

Foreign Policy reports that the spam divide is yet another obstacle to developing country growth:

For people in poor countries, [Spam is] a costly threat to development… In developing nations, bandwidth is expensive and connection speeds are often slow. Spammers can effectively bring a nation’s network down.

10 governance and corruption myths

Governance expert Daniel Kaufman takes us back to the basics and addresses 10 prevailing ‘myths’ of this sensitive and misunderstood topic. To select three at random:

  • Governance and anticorruption are one and the same
  • Governance is a luxury that only rich countries can afford
  • Donors can “ringfence” projects in highly corrupt countries and sectors

More on WBI's governance and anticorruption program.

Low-cost, high-impact technology: the Simputer

Vivek heads to college on his Yamaha motorbike with a frown. Upcoming exams are not his concern - it is a hand-held gadget the traffic police have started using. the first city in India to be given the Simputer to fine traffic offenders. Described as "the people's computer" for its affordable price and ease of use, this paperback-sized console can fine traffic violators even for previous offences.

How to increase aid effectiveness?

The U.K.’s DFID and the finance ministers of Burkina Faso and Tanzania were recently asked how they would increase aid effectiveness.

DFID favors greater country ownership:

…the most promising path to better aid is a “country-led” approach, in which governments of developing countries themselves define and lead the poverty reduction agenda.