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Category Archives: Financing development

Killing microfinance to say they saved the poor

Vivek Nemana is an NYU graduate student and a student worker at DRI.

It’s official: Indian politicians have agreed to regulate the private microfinance sector…by choking it in a tangle of bureaucracy and corruption.

As everyone from David Roodman (on this blog) to the Cambridge randomistas (in the FT) has been saying, Indian microfinance needs reform, not a roundhouse kick to the face. But now the state of Andhra Pradesh…

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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…

Also posted in In the news, Organizational behavior | 9 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…

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Allow me to introduce the world’s latest aid skeptic: Barack Obama

If the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we will miss many development goals.

For too long, we’ve measured our efforts by the dollars we spent … But aid alone is not development.

Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn’t always improved those societies over the long term. Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for

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India tells UK to turn off the aid tap already

Reported yesterday in the English language daily newspaper the Indian Express*:

The External Affairs Ministry has instructed the Finance Ministry to inform London that India will not accept further aid from next April…

“…[I]t would be better if our decision not to avail any further DFID assistance with effect from 1st April 2011 could be conveyed to the British side in an appropriate manner at the earliest,” [Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao] wrote to Finance

Also posted in In the news | 16 Comments

Africans do not want or need Britain’s development aid

Editor’s note: This letter was published in the Telegraph (UK) on August 22, 2010 with the title given above for this post.

SIR – The parlous state of the public finances in Britain provides the perfect opportunity for British taxpayers to end their half-century-long experiment with “development aid”, which has, since its inception, stunted growth and subsidised bad governance in Africa.

As Africans, we urge the generous-spirited British to reconsider an aid

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The Plumpy’Nut dust-up: Nutriset’s side of the story

The following post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Plumpy’Nut is a lifesaving Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food that was developed, and patented, by a French company called Nutriset. An American NGO and company have brought suit against Nutriset in an attempt to break the patent. I wrote about the basics of the situation in a previous post.

That post brought up more questions than…

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The Plumpy’nut dustup

The following post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

There is a fight brewing over Plumpy’nut, a fortified peanut butter product used to treat malnutrition in children. The company that invented Plumpy’nut has a patent on the product. Two American NGOs want to make their own version, but rather than pay a royalty fee, they are trying to

Also posted in Global health, In the news | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Three Afghan success stories

Today, finally a break from the doom and gloom on Afghanistan! Clare Lockhart, the CEO of the Institute for State Effectiveness, spoke at DRI’s annual conference last month and gave three examples of what has gone right in the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

These reforms and projects have lasted despite worsening security conditions and will—Lockhart says—form part of the foundation for the next generation of reforms in Kabul.

1) Hawala dealers implement Afghan

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How is the aid industry like a piano recital? A defense of aid

In 1991, India faced a looming balance of payments crisis. India’s leaders responded, making what are now generally agreed to be some very good decisions: they devalued the exchange rate and instituted a systematic set of economic reforms that lowered high trade barriers and eliminated repressive internal regulations, helping to dismantle India’s notorious license-permit Raj. These reforms averted what might have been years of stagnation or slow growth (avoiding the fate of a Mexico…

Also posted in Big ideas | Tagged , , | 21 Comments