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Monthly Archives: September 2010

“Proofiness:” trashing back on FAO hunger numbers

Just before the big UN meetings here in New York around the Millennium Development Goals, the FAO released new world hunger numbers, and Aid Watch listed reasons to worry that these numbers were “made up.”

A blog post from Oxfam GB’s Duncan Green called our post “lazy and supercilious,” with the amusing headline “Easterly trashed.”  The accusation that I am “lazy” struck a raw nerve, and so I have responded forcefully

Posted in Data and statistics | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

World Bank President starts brawl about development economics research

UPDATE 4:30 PM, Sept 30 — debating Ravallion about World Bank censorship (see end of post)

World Bank President Robert Zoellick gave a speech at Georgetown University today calling for the “democratizing” of development research.  Bob Davis at The Wall Street Journal reports some reactions:

Nobel Prize-winning economist Michael Spence, who led a commission on economic growth, said Mr. Zoellick’s comments are “generally not only in the right direction, but very useful.” Harvard economist

Posted in Academic research, Aid debates | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Brain circulation not brain drain

NYU economist Yaw Nyarko discusses his work on the so-called African brain drain with World Vision Report. Click here to listen to the interview (12 minutes).

Posted in Academic research | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

InterAction’s statement on NGO accountability

Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked InterAction for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts.

Statement from Barbara J. Wallace, InterAction’s Vice President of Membership and Standards, on NGO Accountability

Washington, DC (September 27, 2010)—InterAction appreciates the active discussion about NGO accountability and transparency, and has been monitoring the debate. The variety of opinions and information is valuable.…

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Return to TransparencyGate: Humanitarian Accountability Partnership weighs in

Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked HAP for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts.

The HAP (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership) Secretariat is encouraged that issues of NGO accountability are being discussed in fora such as this, and in particular that the debate is now going beyond the sector.

While public disclosure of financial information is not…

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Solving the mystery of the benevolent autocrat

UPDATE 4PM: RESPONSE TO COMMENTS (SEE END OF POST)

Step 1: You’re right, almost all of the biggest growth success stories are autocracies!

Step 2: Wait a second, all of the worst growth failures are also autocracies!

Step 3: Solving mystery: autocracies have much higher variance of growth rates, so they have both best and worst growth rates

Wonky Moral of the story: focusing on success only in Step 1…

Posted in Academic research, Democracy and freedom | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Lant Pritchett on what Obama got right about development

by Lant Pritchett, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Obama’s speech at the MDG conference and the announced US Global Development Policy are the result of long preparation and internal discussions within the administration as part of the Presidential Study Directive, lead out of the NSC, announced a year ago, and the QDDR, prepared by State, both processes having been watched over by the Washington think tanks and advocacy groups.

While one could immediately focus…

Posted in Financing development, Maps | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Lessons after the Meles speech at Columbia: Let Ethiopians debate Ethiopia

It’s sure was nice to see mainly Ethiopians vigorously participating in a debate about Ethiopia, in contrast to the usual Old White Men debating Africa. The Meles visit to Columbia had the unintentional effect of promoting this debate.  We were very happy at Aid Watch to have had the privilege of turning over our  little corner of the web to host some of this debate, and then just get out of the way.

Here’s more in the…

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

David, Ban, Bill, and Alice

The always wonderful David Rieff takes on the MDG summit:

With the fatuousness that has marked his administration from the outset, the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, has now issued a document called “Keeping the Promise,” timed to coincide with the 2010 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and the summit on the organization’s so-called Millennium Development Goals that is taking place simultaneously.

And yet, in true Alice in Wonderland style, the

Posted in Big ideas | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Diary of a serial summit attendee

One week. Two development summits. Hundreds of heads of state, development luminaries, CEOs, and social entrepreneurs. Celebrity star power. No poor people. Aid Watch spent three days trying to make sense of the greatest show on earth to help the world’s lowest.

TUESDAY

0930 hrs: I am crammed into a press box at the back of the world’s most glamorous development meeting, craning over the photographers to catch a glimpse of this year’s distinguished

Posted in Field notes, Maps | Tagged , , | 11 Comments