Why 21st Century Aid needs to be bigger AND better

May 21, 2010

'Just Give Money to the Poor: the Development Revolution from the Global South', an excellent overview of cash transfers

May 21, 2010

Me with the IMF at the Hanoi Hilton – please add photo caption

May 21, 2010
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OK, the blog’s been pretty heavy going of late, so here’s some light relief, c/o the IMF, who have just sent me multiple copies of this pic from a conference back in March on the impact of the global economic crisis in low income countries (see my previous post, or the IMF page on the event with presentations). This is the IMF/Vietnamese government’s idea of a group photo – the two in the front are John Lipsky, First Managing Director of the IMF (curiously, I can’t find any evidence of a Second Managing Director – is this evidence of US-style grade inflation – all those Vice Presidents and Assistant Professors?) and Nguyen Van Giau, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam.

At least I made it to the inner table – third from the right. You can’t miss me – I’m the white guy in the suit. I also have a bubble coming out of my head. The hierarchy then moves on to the outer table, or worse still, total relegation to the outer darkness at the back of the room.

In case you think this is my normal routine, the next day I was down in Ho Chi Minh City talking to motor bike taxi drivers, street vendors and disabled lottery ticket sellers. Sometimes, this is one weird job. Meanwhile, back at the Hilton, what was going through my mind? I can’t remember, so over to you for some captions – winner gets an honourable mention, but no junkets.

[updated: now included – current front runner from Matt, who is clearly trying to win by sheer force of numbers (monkeys, typewriters etc)]

What am I thinking?  Comment below


  1. Why is this room on a slope?

    Where did all the women go?

    Why are conferences always in rooms with no windows?

  2. ‘who new that when Des Lynam left the BBC he would end up deputy managing director of the IMF’

    …I am sad that this is my first contribution to what is an excellent blog.

  3. I vote for Matt #4 comment. But I guess you thought “Hey, where are all the ladies. All these dudes in suits have killed my mojo for discussing the global economic crisis one more time – (que the Daft Punk song by the same name)”

  4. You are thinking “Damn, I forgot to get 30 minutes at the tanning bed before leaving London or to apply some spray on tan. Oh well, at least I didn’t wear my favorite suit, which is the color of a strawberry daquari. Then I really would have been made to sit up front too.”

  5. Love will find a way, opposites attract, and all that … I never pictured Hugo Chavez and John Cleese hooking up though.

  6. This is the last time I agree to judge “Vietnam’s got Talent” without checking Ant and Dec are already booked as hosts.

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