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Monthly Archives: November 2010

The 100 Bestest Global Thinkers

The Foreign Policy magazine ranking of the top 100 Global Thinkers just came out. The rankings can be a bit mysterious, like college football rankings that confuse Texas Christian University with a real football team.

I myself had a two-year run in the top 100 for still unexplained reasons. Alas, a late-season loss to Collier State University doomed my chances this year. I wouldn’t mind as much if there were not way too many…

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs, Big ideas | 12 Comments

Understanding India’s Microcredit Crisis

by David Roodman, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development

As Vivek Nemana reported here, the Indian microcredit industry has pitched into what appears to be a replay of the American subprime debacle. I just spent a week in India, talking to nearly everyone. I learned there were so many complexities—history, politicsinstitutional rivalries— that to just view events through the foreign lens of the subprime crisis is…actually about right.

The microcredit industry…

Posted in Financing development, In the news, Organizational behavior | 9 Comments

One problem with reports from large bureaucracies

Here is an NYT headline and a WSJ headline on the same Pentagon report last Tuesday. Reports produced in large bureaucracies have to interpret the “facts” so as to please competing interest groups within the bureaucracy, as I can testify from my World Bank experience. The result is usually a report with a very unclear message. If I was not feeling so lazy on a Sunday morning, I could cite a lot of…

Posted in In the news | 12 Comments

The best address ever given to UN General Assembly

Best line: Ethnic cleansing? Talk to the hand!

(If you can’t see the video on the blog, the link is here.)

Posted in Satire and parodies | 4 Comments

WHO: 20 to 40 percent of money spent on health wasted, more funds needed to be wasted

Health care systems worldwide are wasting up to 40 percent of their funds, but more money is needed to boost their capabilities, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

In an analysis of how countries pay for health and what they get in return, the United Nations agency concluded that despite these losses even more funds need to be invested in health care.

This article by AP reporter Maria Cheng on the…

Posted in Global health, In the news | 4 Comments

Aid Watch Thanksgiving Thanks

It’s not commonly known that the most skeptical and critical people usually have a strong sentimental streak…at least if I can extrapolate from introspection….

So here goes for what Aid Watch is sincerely thankful for:

For the largest reduction in world poverty in human history, which has already happened in our generation.

For the largest improvement in health and life expectancy in human history, which has already happened in our generation.

For all those who…

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Lennon vs. Bono

I watched last night a remarkable documentary on the life of John Lennon called “Imagine.” For my generation, it’s pretty much automatic that Lennon is our hero, and I am no different.

But then I thought, do I have a double standard? I criticize celebrity musicians today like Bono for taking on a role like “Africa expert,” because we would never put rock stars in charge of say, Federal Reserve Policy. Yet Lennon…

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs, Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Fighting for Freedom of the Press in Ethiopia and AidBlogWorld

Had a fascinating lunch today with Dawit Kebede, the courageous editor of the only remaining independent newspaper in Addis Ababa.  He is getting a  2010 International Press Freedom Award tonight in New York from the Committee to Protect Journalists. I hope he gets lots more recognition for what he’s doing to preserve a neutral, independent voice.

Thank goodness we have press freedom here at home…oops, Dennis Whittle points out we don’t. At least not for many aid

Posted in Democracy and freedom | 10 Comments

A Subprime Crisis for the Poorest?

Vivek Nemana is a graduate student in economics at New York University and works for DRI.

The impending collapse of the microfinance industry in Andhra Pradesh, one of India’s largest states and a major hub of microfinance, is the ultimate example of a silver aid bullet…not being a silver aid bullet at all. The New York Times reports:

India’s rapidly growing private microcredit industry faces imminent collapse as almost all borrowers in one of

Posted in In the news | Tagged , | 21 Comments

QDDR: we can hardly contain our excitement

Aid Watch is as excited as everyone else to get a leaked, advance summary of the Quadrennial Development and Diplomacy Review, (HT Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy) which is a critical part of the US government process to set its priorities  on Development.

We love to seize occasions where we can be more positive to reward positive things happening, and not be our usual snarky selves.

Today is not one of those occasions.


Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Grand plans and aid targets, Maps, Military aid | 14 Comments