This weekly posting includes key news stories and opinion pieces related to foreign assistance reform and the larger development community.
- Pakistani prime minister: U.S. aid money goes through (FP Blog-Josh Rogin, April 12) Regardless, Gilani said, the decision has been made. “We have convinced the government of the United States that the money should be given directly to the Pakistani organizations,” he told a group of reporters during a Monday lunch at Washington’s Four Seasons Hotel. Gilani is in town for the Nuclear Security Summit and met with President Obama Sunday.
- IMF widens pool for crisis funds to include emerging economies (The Washington Post, April 13) The International Monetary Fund on Monday tripled the amount of money it can deploy in a crisis, drawing more heavily on commitments from emerging economies such as China and Brazil to establish a pool of more than half a trillion dollars that officials hope will help deter future problems. The new loan pool “will make an important contribution to global stability,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF managing director, said in a written statement after the fund’s executive board agreed to the arrangement.
- Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe (The New York Times, April 14) The study cited a number of reasons for the improvement: lower pregnancy rates in some countries; higher income, which improves nutrition and access to health care; more education for women; and the increasing availability of “skilled attendants” — people with some medical training — to help women give birth. Improvements in large countries like India and China helped to drive down the overall death rates.
- OECD Says Development Aid Keeps Rising Despite Crisis (Wall Street Journal, April 14) Governments in developed countries continued to increase the amount of aid they gave to poorer countries in 2009, despite the financial crisis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. According to the Paris-based think tank, most governments are on course to meet the targets set at the summit of the Group of Eight leading nations in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005.
- The Next Empire (The Atlantic Monthly-Howard French, May 2010) In its recent approach to Africa, China could not be more different from the West. It has focused on trade and commercially justified investment, rather than aid grants and heavily subsidized loans. It has declined to tell African governments how they should run their countries, or to make its investments contingent on government reform. And it has moved quickly and decisively, especially in comparison to many Western aid establishments.