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Tag Archives: World Bank

Afghans and social entrepreneurs improvise when official aid fails

From the blog FabFi (HT to blog Whirled Citizen)

{A} World Bank funded infrastructure project to bring internet connectivity to Afghanistan began more than SEVEN YEARS ago and only made its first international link this June. That project, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, is still far from being complete.

{Meanwhile} the Fabbed Long-Range Wireless Antenna Project, … as of December 2008 is working on an installation in Jalalabad Afghanistan.

Posted in Entrepreneurship | Also tagged , 2 Comments

This Friday: “Best and Worst of Aid” Conference

For aid watchers in New York, this post is a reminder of Development Research Institute’s upcoming conference this Friday, from 9 am to 2 pm, in NYU’s Kimmel Center.

Called “The Best and Worst of Aid: Incentives, Accountability and Effectiveness,” speakers and participants will present new findings and discuss and debate the best and worst of what happened in aid this year.

(According to some rumors, the irrepressible light-hearted side of DRI will give Oscar-style…

Posted in Meta | Also tagged , , , 8 Comments

Paying for school on $2 a day

When James Tooley first discovered low-cost private schools for the poor in urban slums and rural areas in India, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and China, aid agency officials and local government administrators did not receive the news warmly.

Most flat out denied that such schools existed. Even if they do exist, said the experts, they can’t possibly be any good. School owners that run for-profit schools in shantytowns and poor villages are just exploiting poor communities.…

Posted in Academic research, Books and book reviews | Also tagged , 26 Comments

Decade Ender Edition: We interrupt this blog for a brief self-promotional announcement

People from Ohio are not supposed to trumpet their own achievements. Ohioans have this belief that if you do the Unforgivable Sin of Self-Praise, a tornado will immediately strike and wipe out you and your entire family. “Pride goeth before a fall” is the state motto. Still, when you are labeled an “aid skeptic” and make enemies everywhere, if you don’t praise yourself, who’s going to? On top of that, I will appeal to a…

Posted in Books and book reviews, Meta | Also tagged , 8 Comments

Martin Ravallion comments on “We must know how many are suffering, so let’s make up numbers”

The following is a response from Martin Ravallion, director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank, on last week’s Aid Watch post, We must know how many are suffering, so let’s make up numbers.

Pull your head out of the sand Bill Easterly!

Faced with all these perceived “impossibilities,” Easterly and Freschi would apparently prefer to wait and see rather than take action when it is needed, based on the information available…

Posted in Data and statistics | Also tagged 5 Comments

At least as good as cash from a helicopter? A new standard for aid effectiveness

by guest blogger Franck Wiebe, Chief Economist at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

In the face of particularly senseless uses of foreign assistance, aid workers sometimes say “it would have been better to drop the money out of a helicopter” to convey how bad programs waste money.

Cash Transfers are less dramatic (and possibly less efficient) than throwing money from a helicopter, but CTs are increasingly accepted as a standard aid mechanism. Their beauty is their simplicity – simply give poor people what they need: more money so they can decide what they need most. Moreover, their likely impact on welfare is easily assessed, because the benefits can be quantified and tracked.

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Also tagged , , 9 Comments

Industrial Policy Showdown at World Bank: the policy that may not exist also may not work

The World Bank’s PSD Blog has a good discussion of the debate last Monday between Justin Lin (Chief Economist of the World Bank), Ann Harrison (Head of trade policy division at the Bank and well-known trade economist), and myself (random trouble-maker). The debate was very civil, and I am very grateful to Justin Lin for being so willing to debate his ideas openly (as opposed say to a former Chief Economist who forced me…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Trade | 8 Comments

World Bank AIDS Drive crowds out other health programs – but fails to make progress on AIDS

A report released today by the World Bank’s own Independent Evaluation Group faults the Bank for allowing AIDS to drive out many other programs to improve health. To make things worse, the Bank’s AIDS effort itself failed to accomplish much – only 29 percent of AIDS projects (and only 18 percent of AIDS projects in Africa) had a satisfactory outcome – while other efforts were much more effective (89 percent satisfactory project…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Global health | Also tagged 6 Comments

Thieves and Donors: Agencies Struggle to Respond to a Little Constructive Criticism on Tajikistan

Last month, the International Crisis Group came out with a report describing the “profound and all-pervasive nature of corruption in Tajikistan,” and recommending that the international donor community “institute a totally new framework for the provision of aid to Tajikistan.”

Since “most” of the substantial amount of money provided by international donors (some $300 million in 2006) “is believed to be lost to corruption before it gets anywhere near its intended recipients” the ICG…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Financing development, Organizational behavior | Also tagged , 10 Comments

And Now For Something Completely Different: Davos Features “Refugee Run”

Refugee-Run-Text-4.JPG

When somebody sent me this invitation from Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I thought at first it was a joke from the Onion. What do you think of the Davos rich and powerful going through the “Refugee Run” theme park re-enactment of life in a refugee camp?

Can Davos man empathize with refugees when he or she is not in danger and is going back to a luxury banquet and…

Posted in Cognitive biases | Also tagged , 58 Comments