I want to share something puzzling that has troubled me for some time: Why don’t development agencies use results-based financing more consistently as a way of supporting stronger governance in developing countries? Let me explain the source of this puzzle and give you my personal take on the issue.
Almost 400 million Indians—about a third of the subcontinent’s population—don’t have access to electricity. This power deficit, which includes about 100,000 un-electrified villages, places India’s per capita electricity consumption at just 639 kWh—among the world’s lowest rates.
The access gap is complicated by another problem: more than three-quarters of India’s electricity is produced by burning coal and natural gas. With India’s rapidly-growing population— currently 1.1 billion—along with its strong economic growth in recent years, its carbon emissions were over 1.6 billion tons in 2007, among the world’s highest.
This is unsustainable, not only from a climate change standpoint, but also because India’s coal reserves are projected to run out in four decades. India already imports about 10% of its coal for electricity generation, and this is expected to reach 16% this year.
India’s national and state governments are taking action to correct this vicious circle of power deficits and mounting carbon emissions. The national government has set a target of increasing renewable energy generation by 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, up from current capacity of 15 GW, itself a threefold increase since 2005. Still, renewable sources account for just 3.5% of India’s energy generation at present, so the scale of the challenge is formidable. The cost of meeting it will be high unless the tremendous innovative capacity of India and market reforms can be coordinated to make India a clean energy leader.
Listening to at least two sides of an argument is usually a good thing. But when it comes to sustaining mass public action, this may not be the case. For most people, the willingness to take a stand in the public arena, despite the risk of injury or death, requires clarity, courage, and the dogged pursuit of a vision shared with like-minded others. If saddled with the weight of competing considerations, people might just decide to stay home.
7 weeks of outreach, 50 days of meeting, engaging, dialoguing with some of the brightest, most committed minds involved in creating social impact across India. And an overwhelming 264 proposals received from organizations seeking funding to scale their projects with support from the India Development Marketplace 2011. The response is extraordinary given the fact that this version of the India DM is focused on enabling Scale.
Therefore these are not start-up ideas – but instead are more mature models that are already demonstrating at least 2 years of operational existence, a movement towards financial sustainability, a reasonable clarity in their unit costs and a demonstrated and valuable social impact that can be replicated.
" In dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation."
- Twitter user 3arabawy (Hossam), Egyptian journalist
A lot is being written these days on the global economic crisis. In fact, the volume of research and blogs on various aspects of the crisis particularly in the developed countries is truly overwhelming. There are too many camps and too many ideas being brandied about the causes, consequences and responses to the global crisis.
The UN Climate Talks in December 2010 concluded with a set of decisions known as the Cancun Agreements, which included the establishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Having been involved in many of the negotiating sessions, I know that this fund is seen by many, particularly developing countries as an opportunity to create a ‘legitimate’ institution for delivering scaled-up finance to address climate change. However, there remains significant skepticism on whether or not this Fund could deliver adequate and predictable resources in a timely manner. Much work has yet to be done before the Green Climate Fund could become a reality.
In Cancun, the COP decided to set up a Transitional Committee (TransComm) and entrusted it with the task of developing the operational documents for the GCF and making recommendations to the COP in Durban. The Transitional Committee will include representatives from 25 developing countries and 15 developed countries. Some countries have announced their nominations, while others are still in the process of finalizing. The delay comes as no surprise of course. Nominations within regional groups remain a highly contentious and political issue. With limited seats countries are grappling to ensure they have a voice in the body that will design the Fund. I’ve heard the mix of skills and expertise on finance, climate and, development represented in the individuals nominated and they vary from country to country.
Against overwhelming odds, the efforts of countries and donors to pursue the Education for All (EFA) goals over the last decade have paid off. The number of out of school children has dropped by the tens of millions, enrollment rates have surged, first grade entry has jumped substantially, completion rates have shot up, gender disparities have diminished, and other types of equity have improved in many countries, including in very large countries like China, Brazil, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Of course the six EFA goals and Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 still remain to be achieved so we are anything but complacent. Nonetheless, we have seen substantial progress.
It is really important to recognize that in education we are talking about broad, system-wide outcomes – not just narrowly defined (albeit incredibly important) specific outcomes – for example in the health sector, improved outcomes on a few diseases. Scores of countries around the world have made great leaps forward on education results, despite poverty, despite the fact that many donors did not meet their funding targets, and despite the fact that EFA doesn't have a Bono, a Bill Gates, or an Angelina Jolie to promote its importance.
- Wave of Tunisian migrant arrivals alarms Italy (Feb. 11, 2011)
- Cameron Criticizes ‘Multiculturalism’ in Britain (Feb. 5, 2011)
- Saudi remittances up 22.5% in six months (Feb. 6, 2011)
- Can mobile phone money transfer take off in India? (Feb. 11, 2011)
- Remittances from Kenyans abroad hit new record (Feb. 10, 2011)
- Pakistan: Remittances rise to $6.12bn in Jul-Jan (Feb. 11, 2011)
- Tanzania remittances up 7 pct to $25 mn in 2010 (Feb. 11, 2011)
- weekly news
Rising food prices have once again grabbed everyone’s attention. Prices for some basic foods are nearing the 2008 food crisis levels. In the post ‘Soaring Food Crisis’, Paul Krugman analyzes the data from USDA World supply and demand estimates, and blames the current price spikes on global harvest failures. However, the main question still remains unanswered – is another food crisis afoot? Answers to this and some other concerns are addressed in the latest World Bank Flash and also in the World Food Program’s ‘Rising Food Prices: 10 Questions Answered’ piece.
Should 16 year old Africans vote? Why not… Africa has the youngest and fastest growing population in the world…where more than 20% are between the ages of 15- 24, argues Calestous Juma in an insightful post on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog. Speaking of Africa, in an interesting post, ‘Do informed citizens hold governments accountable? It depends…’ (Governance for Development blog), Stuti Khemani from the World Bank’s Research Group examines the impact of radio access on government accountability in Benin.