Aid

The C Word: How should the aid business think and act about Corruption?

Duncan Green - July 1, 2015
india

Went to a seminar on corruption and development on Monday – notable in itself as corruption is something of a taboo topic in aid circles. Aid supporters often cite framing – George Lakoff’s ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ or Richard Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ (below)- as justification for avoiding the topic; even if you raise it to dismiss it, the connection between aid …

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Which bits of advice do developing country decision makers actually listen to? Great new research

Duncan Green - May 12, 2015

Another interesting feedback loop in the aid system: a new report, The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change summarizes a survey of 6,750 policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and middle-income countries to find out which of the innumerable bits of advice and analysis churned out by aid agencies, international organizations and NGOs actually influence their work. What’s most alarming is how original this is …

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Fit for the Future? Systems thinking and the role of International NGOs – draft paper for your comments

Duncan Green - April 14, 2015

I’m committing potential hara-kiri by giving a DFID staff talk on the future of INGOs tomorrow lunchtime (Wednesday) – if you’re an FP2P reader in DFID, do please come along. Here’s the background and a call for comments on the draft paper I’m presenting: (INGO futures, Green v5 April 2015 (edited)). Just before Christmas, Oxfam boss Mark Goldring collared me in the canteen and off the …

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A Novel Idea: Would Fiction be a better induction to a new job than boring briefings?

Duncan Green - March 31, 2015

A mysterious, anonymised, scarlet pimpernel character called J. flits around the aid world, writing a blog (Tales from the Hood – now defunct, but collected into a book, Letters Left Unsent) and fiction. He asked me for a plug for the latest novel, Honor Among Thieves. Here’s the plot blurb: ‘Mary-Anne has left East Africa and traded in her dusty cargo pants for business suits …

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Why Bill and Melinda’s Annual Letter is both exciting and disappointing

Duncan Green - January 23, 2015

Judging by his latest annual letter, if you could bottle and sell Bill Gates’ optimism, you’d probably make even more money than he has from software. In what they call a ‘big bet’ (actually, more like a prediction), the letter sets out Bill and Melinda’s personal version of some post-MDG goals for 2030 (Charles Kenny sees it as an implicit criticism of the official UN …

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$2 leaving developing countries for every $1 going in – big new report on the state of global financial flows

Duncan Green - December 18, 2014

A very useful new report from Eurodad, published today, provides ‘the most comprehensive review of the quantity of different financing sources available to developing countries, and how they have changed over the past decade.’ This in the run up to the big UN summit on financing for development (FfD) in Addis Ababa in July 2015. Here are some highlights from the exec sum: ‘We have …

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Did Britain’s Aid Programme (and maybe aid in general) just get its Mojo back?

Duncan Green - December 9, 2014

[Mojo: NOUN (plural mojos), chiefly US: A magic charm, talisman, or spell] I got back from Malta on Friday, just in time to watch the end of the House of Commons debate on enshrining in British law the longstanding, but widely ignored, international commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on international development. By an overwhelming majority (146 to 5), the bill passed. It still has to go to the House of Lords, …

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What if we scrapped The Project – are there better ways to fund development?

Duncan Green - October 29, 2014

Yesterday I gave some general feedback on last week’s Doing Development Differently conference. Today I want to talk about projects, or rather The Project. Joel Hellman of the World Bank gave the following definition: What is a project? –          Time bound (1-5 years) –          A Legal Agreement –          A cluster of contracts – employment, implementing partners, consultants, evaluation. All of them work within a set …

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Why do countries need aid when the world is awash with capital? Latest thoughts from the OECD

Duncan Green - October 14, 2014

I chaired the London launch of the OECD’s annual aid report last week (when it comes to flagships, the multilateral system is starting to look like the Spanish Armada – more on that tomorrow). We opted for a radical new model for such meetings: the chair keeps people to time, says where the toilets are (when he remembers) but otherwise shuts up. Panelists speak to …

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DFID is changing its approach to better address the underlying causes of poverty and conflict – can it work? Guest Post from two DFID reformers

Duncan Green - October 9, 2014

Aid donors are often maligned for bureaucratic procedures, a focus on short-term results at the expense of longer-term, riskier institutional change, and a technical, managerial approach to aid with insufficient focus on context, power and politics. Are these institutional barriers insurmountable? Can aid agencies create an enabling environment to think and work politically? Tom Wingfield (left) and Pete Vowles (right) from DFID’s new ‘Better Delivery Taskforce’ have been …

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