International aid trends from a Belgian perspective
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International aid trends from a Belgian perspective
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OECD donors consider pulling plug on aid to richer developing countries

OECD donors consider pulling plug on aid to richer developing countries | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Concerns that aid money is not reaching those most in need drives rethink on assistance to middle-income countries
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10 reasons why aid is irreplaceable

Poverty is still widespread, and growth alone cannot eradicate it. So other forms of finance are needed. But does this finance need to be aid? The answer is: yes, some of it does. Effective aid has a unique and important role to play amongst the various possible sources. It cannot be replaced, and should be increased. There are a number of reasons for this.

1. Effective aid can target public services and support private enterprise for poor people.
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Blog series: measuring progress in the quality of life of the urban poor

Blog series: measuring progress in the quality of life of the urban poor | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Almost 1 billion people currently live in slums, and this number is expected to grow by nearly 500 million by 2020 - for the post-2015 agenda, it is vital that we ensure progress is reaching the most marginalised.
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Will saving poor children lead to overpopulation?

Hans Rosling explains a very common misunderstanding about the world. CC by www.gapminder.org
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DRC’s future is in the hands of its Parliament

DRC’s future is in the hands of its Parliament | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

For many years, the enormous wealth of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has added fuel to the fire of conflict, serving primarily to enrich elites and warring parties. Meanwhile, many of the country’s citizens struggle to afford a meal a day.

The dangers posed by a lack of transparency in DRC government affairs were thrown into stark relief last year when the Africa Progress Panel estimated that the DRC lost out on at least U.S $1.36 billion when mining concessions were sold off in secret between 2010 and 2012. This is equivalent to almost double the DRC’s annual spending on health and education.

Senior figures in the DRC administration have promised greater transparency and better governance in the oil and mining sectors. During its current session, the DRC Parliament is set to consider crucial laws on how the DRC’s oil and mineral riches will be managed.

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Ten broad brushstrokes about development cooperation by Owen Barder

I am discussing the the future of development cooperation, and the role of Northern NGOs, with the policy, advocacy and campaigns team at ActionAid UK this morning.  Powerpoint is forbidden.  Here are my speaking notes. They consist of ten broad brushstrokes about the future of development cooperation.

1. Fighting poverty is no longer mainly about helping poor people in poor countries

72% of the world’s poor live in middle income countries, mainly in stable, non-fragile countries. Two thirds of the worlds poor live in just five countries: China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia.

 

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What Does A Successful Country Look Like? -

80 years ago, economist Simon Kuznets introduced GDP to the world, alongside a clear warning against using it to define the wellbeing of people. The Social Progress Index aims to introduce a new measure to complement, not replace, GDP, and measure what truly matters to people.

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16 maand Junior Assistant bij BTC in Zuid- Afrika

16 maand Junior Assistant bij BTC in Zuid- Afrika | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

Na meer dan een jaar in Zuid-Afrika te vertoeven zit mijn tijd als Junior Assistant er bijna op. Het perfecte moment om even terug te blikken op wat ik hier allemaal heb zitten uitvreten.In september 2012 kwam ik samen met mijn collega Inge hier toe met niet meer dan een koffer en een vage jobomschrijving als houvast. Gelukkig was er al onmiddellijk het BTC Zuid-Afrika team dat ons uitstekende ondersteuning bood in de eerste weken na de aankomst … en dat hadden we nodig. De dienst binnen het Zuid-Afrikaanse Departement van Rurale Ontwikkeling waar we zouden werken was net helemaal door elkaar gegooid en onze toekomst in Zuid-Afrika was nog onduidelijk. Het was niet de eerste keer dat zo’n herverdeling plaatsvond, en het zou ook niet de laatste zijn. Uiteindelijk konden we met een kleine maand vertraging beginnen aan onze hoofdtaak: het analyseren van het Departement z’n database.

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Why Solar Lamps Are the Cash Transfers of Energy Poverty - CGD

 

I’m a pretty big fan of cash transfers. I’ve become convinced that cash is an efficient immediate way to help the poor and very often a better alternative than other standard development interventions like training or building schools. Cash transfers may even be catalytic, giving poor people a floor to invest in business, their children’s health and education, and some breathing space to pursue higher value activities. 

Yet I would never argue that cash transfers are a replacement for economic growth or industrialization or a steady income.  Countries want to transform their economies and people will always aspire to be wealthier than what cash transfers can ever reasonably provide. It’s great that cash may enable poor people to eat more protein or afford a better roof, but ultimately their ambitions are surely higher than to rise just above the bare minimum.  More importantly, while a bit of regular cash may be helpful in giving people a leg up to escape poverty, it can never replace the dignity or value of a job. Simply put, cash transfers are a useful innovation, but they aren’t a modern economy that can on their own fulfill the aspirations of the world’s poor.

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Fragile States Need Extra Help

Fragile States Need Extra Help | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

It is true for Mali and Somalia. But not for Burkina Faso or Kenya. To be labelled a 'fragile state' is not something any country in Africa welcomes. The category implies that a country is unable to borrow on the market and faces stringent conditionalities put in place by international financial institutions such as the World Bank. It carries the stigma of incapacity and lack of progress; of poverty, violence and poor governance.

Despite the welcome news of 'Africa rising', new research shows that ten African states will remain fragile for much longer than previously anticipated.

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Complexity won't make the public fall back in love with development

Complexity won't make the public fall back in love with development | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
We are right to reexamine how we communicate, but instead of flirting with complexity we should challenge the message that development is only for those in poor countries
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Behind Those Fast Growth Rates, Rising Inequality

Behind Those Fast Growth Rates, Rising Inequality | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
There is a disquieting reality behind the “Africa Rising” narrative: The total number of people living in extreme poverty has increased.

But because Africa’s population has grown so much in that time — and because inequality remains so pronounced — the total number of people living in such extreme poverty has still increased, to an estimated 413 million in 2010 from 376 million in 1999, the World Bank said. “Growth alone will not suffice to rapidly reduce poverty in the region,” it found.

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GIZ info note: All about quinoa

GIZ info note: All about quinoa | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

 

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 the "International Year of Quinoa". See why this crop gets such attention?

Quinoa is a close relative to spinach which has been cultivated in the High Andes for 6000 years. It grows in Peru and Bolivia at 4000 masl and most of its genetic diversity rests in these countries, around Lake Titicaca. The crop is importatn for this region and it is also gaining interest in other parts of the world. People in Africa, Asia and the Arabian Peninsula are looking at Quinoa's considerable potential in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

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'Ending world poverty is an unrealistic goal'

'Ending world poverty is an unrealistic goal' | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Relative poverty is unpreventable. The global development community should focus its energies on reducing inequality, says Jonathan Tanner
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Anatomy of a killer fact: the world’s 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion

Anatomy of a killer fact: the world’s 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

How did we come to this figure? It’s a simple calculation. And yet it required a lot of work.

First, we didn’t design the statistic to shock, as some commentators have argued. What’s shocking is the concentration of wealth around the world – that’s a fact. Instead, we studied a series of available databases on income and wealth and analysed the trends. That fact captured the attention but we did plenty more data work with alternative sources. All of them pointed to the same results: since 1980 or so, concentration of income and wealth has been increasing and is now at remarkably high levels.

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Aid Amnesia

Aid Amnesia | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Jeffrey Sachs has gone down the rabbit hole on the aid debate. He doesn't even remember what it was all about.n the latest installment of this endless and tiresome debate over aid, Jeff Sachs struck back this week at my recent article entitled the "Aid Debate is Over." (Spoiler: In the piece I argue that he lost the argument.) What's remarkable, however, is that Sachs' recent retaliation in Foreign Policy takes very little from his previous writings about aid. These omissions seem to imply his own retreat from the original debate about Big Aid and Big Results.
BTC's insight:

Bill Easterly's last answer to Jeffrey Sachs

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Bill and Melinda Gates on three myths about the world's poor

Bill and Melinda Gates on three myths about the world's poor | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Bill and Melinda Gates call foreign aid a phenomenal investment that's transforming the world. (If anything, its really getting international aid in front of the people - constantly.
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Oxfam says world's rich threaten democracy

Oxfam says world's rich threaten democracy | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
The 85 richest people on planet "own the wealth of half the world's population", the charity said.

The world's elite have rigged laws in their own favour undermining democracy and creating a chasm of inequality across the globe, charity Oxfam said in advance of the annual get-together of the world's most powerful at Davos.

Inequality has run so out of control, that the 85 richest people on the planet "own the wealth of half the world's population," Oxfam said in an introduction to a new report on widening disparities between the rich and poor.

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40 charts that explain the world

40 charts that explain the world | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
You've seen the 40 maps that explain the world. But charts have always been better than maps.
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The pros and cons of aid to developing economies - The Guardian (blog)

The pros and cons of aid to developing economies - The Guardian (blog) | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

The huge gap between the world's richest and poorest countries remains one of the great moral dilemmas for the west. It also presents one of the greatest challenges for development economics. Do we really know how to help countries overcome poverty?

In his eloquently written and deeply researched new book The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, Princeton University's Angus Deaton urges caution. For those interested in world poverty, it is unquestionably the most important book on development assistance to appear in a long time.

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The Aid Debate Is Over by William Easterly

The Aid Debate Is Over by William Easterly | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
The failure of Jeffrey Sachs' Millennium Villages

 

Jeffrey Sachs' formula for ending poverty was appealingly simple. All the problems of poverty, the famous Columbia University economist argued, had discrete technological fixes. Bed nets could prevent malaria-spreading mosquito bites. Wells could provide clean water. Hospitals could treat curable diseases. Fertilizer could increase yields of food crops.

Ending poverty, therefore, was just a matter of raising enough money to pay for the right combination of known technical solutions to poor people's problems. Sachs would provide a slam-dunk demonstration project by deploying these comprehensive tech fixes in a dozen or so "Millennium Villages" in Africa. Success would build upon success, and advocacy money would flow, until poverty was eliminated from the poorest continent.

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Development Horizons by Lawrence Haddad: Predictions for 2014

Development Horizons by Lawrence Haddad: Predictions for 2014 | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

1.  Poverty in Africa will continue to decline strongly


2. Get ready for more crap along the lines of "Cut the Green Crap"


3.  Minilateralism is here to stay


4.  Front line workers will increasingly be front and centre


5.  The nutrition community will not squander the momentum it has built up in 2013


6.  IDS will continue to thrive

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Where Are the Poor? Where Is Aid Going?

Where Are the Poor? Where Is Aid Going? | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it

What will it take to end extreme poverty by 2030? That is the goal President Obama included in his SOTU in 2013, President Kim recently announced as the World Bank's key objective, and that USAID Administrator Raj Shah will discuss Thursday in a much-anticipated speech at the Brookings Institution.

Reaching the goal requires reaching the right places, where most of the world’s poor people live. In those places, it turns out that official aid is playing a small role.

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World Bank revamp: 'We're not cutting jobs out of spite,' insists president

World Bank revamp: 'We're not cutting jobs out of spite,' insists president | International aid trends from a Belgian perspective | Scoop.it
Jim Yong Kim says World Bank overhaul will help to meet tough new anti-poverty targets and thwart threats from rivals, writes Phil Thornton
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Why Are Development Agencies Giving up on Development?

The World Bank has decided to make this problem – the divergence of the organization’s rhetoric on “extreme poverty” and their clients’ desire for support in their national development agendas – even worse. They have announced that their goal is to “eradicate extreme poverty” (while only “monitoring” the income of the poorest 40 percent in each country—but with no goal).  This new goal is meant to sound like a bold and ambitious target but is exactly the opposite. This is a dramatic retreat by the World Bank, a shift from an organization that supports national development agendas towards an organization that just promotes cost-effective charity work.  This new focus is wildly at odds with what leaders of developing countries and their citizens want, care about, and want global support in accomplishing. This new goal is like a World Series champion team announcing their goal for the next seasion is not scoring runs or winning games but just bunting well.

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