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A Knotty Problem: Turning Words into Action on Tied Aid

Polly Meeks

21 Feb 2018 08:13:03

This article was originally published in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.   “Tied aid doesn’t work.” That was the verdict of the UK’s top development minister at a recent parliamentary hearing. And the evidence bears the minister out. Tied aid – aid that can only be used to buy goods or services from the country providing the aid – is having a negative impact on the world’s poorest people. Tied aid generally costs more than untied aid – an estimated 15 – 30 % more for many goods and services, and more still in the case of food aid. It also tends to deliver less, since it is less well suited to local contexts and preferences. This isn’t just a question of bean counting. Tied aid is used in sectors from emergency response ...

The Doing Business Report: a longstanding controversy

Gino Brunswijck

01 Feb 2018 11:11:21

Recent criticism of Chile’s ranking in the Doing Business Report (DBR) has once again put the report in the spotlight, with renewed calls for scrapping the highly controversial annual World Bank publication. Over the years Eurodad has consistently demanded an end to the DBR because of its lack of scientific rigour and biased policy orientation.   The DBR has been published each year since 2002, ranking countries on 11 indicators which measure the ‘ease of doing business’. The indicators are intended to measure the impact of business regulations - such as registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders - on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The report is highly influential and gets considerable media coverage. It has recorded nearly 3200 business reforms ...

Is blended finance a silver bullet or a double-edged sword?

Polly Meeks

31 Jan 2018 08:47:04

This article was originally published in Public Finance International.More debate on the interaction between aid and the private sector is needed, but must be led by the voices and priorities of the poorest people, says Polly Meeks of Eurodad. Blended finance is dominating discussions at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development this week. Blended finance, or blending, is a slippery concept – but typically it means combining concessional public finance (such as aid) with commercial finance, to fund development-related activities in the global south. For the OECD, blending holds a big part of the answer to financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a subject explored in more depth at this week’s OECD conference on Private Finance ...

Strong safeguards are needed when investing public money via private financial intermediaries

Martin Atkin

25 Jan 2018 14:38:46

You wouldn’t just hand your money over to someone else to invest without asking them what they were going to do with it, would you? If you were a public body, at the very least you’d want to make sure it wasn’t used in a way that damaged the environment or undermined human rights. Increasingly, however, there are concerns that development finance institutions (DFIs - government-backed institutions that invest in private sector projects in developing countries) - are lending money to private sector financial intermediaries (FIs) to invest in infrastructure projects in developing countries - without ensuring that proper environmental and social safeguards are in place. These intermediaries - private commercial banks, private equity funds and infrastructure funds - are essentially go-betweens ...

Financing for Development: Time for the UN to Take Centre Stage Again

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:58:56

This article was originally published in Triple Crisis.Little progress has been made since the last conference of the United Nations Financing for Development (FfD) process, held in Addis Ababa in July 2015, which agreed the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action (AAAA) – the framework for how the world would finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since Addis, however, there has been little headway and last year’s UN FfD Forum was disappointing, with few concrete outcomes achieved. As the FfD Forum outcome document highlighted, that current policies are not delivering the economic step-change needed to achieve the SDGs. Given the slow rate of reform since Addis, it is clear that global leaders need to work towards a major new set of concrete actions on financing ...

Concern Over Using Aid To Promote Rich Countries' Commercial Interests

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:26:17

This article was originally published in In Depth News. BUSSELS (IDN) – At first glance, the latest figures on Official Development Assistance (ODA) – or aid – make encouraging reading. According to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which compiles the data and sets the rules on what counts as aid, global ODA increased by more than ten percent to $145 billion in 2016. But dig behind the headline figure and the picture is less rosy, with only six of the DAC’s 30 member countries meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. The average is less than half that. Meanwhile, the DAC’s measure of aid that does actually reach developing countries shows a dramatic decline from $117 billion to $103 billion in 2015 (latest available figures). ...

G20 lands in South America and puts infrastructure financing centre stage

Maria Romero

14 Dec 2017 13:04:11

For the first time a South American country - Argentina - is president of the G20, and theoretically at least, the whole continent has a major opportunity to make its voice heard. When it took over the presidency at the beginning of December, the Argentinean government announced one of its priorities would be 'infrastructure for development'. So far so good - along with many other South American governments, Argentina is making the right noises, but questions remain about what kind of infrastructure will get financed, and how.   To mark the beginning of the new G20 presidency, civil society groups led by Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) organised an inspiring gathering to discuss, among other things, the growing trend of promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) ...

Ready for the next storm? Debt (crisis) management discussed at the UNCTAD and Paris Club

Bodo Ellmers

26 Nov 2017 11:41:27

The number of poor countries that are in debt crisis is increasing rapidly, as is the share of public revenue that southern governments need to divert from essential services to pay down debts. The international community is awaiting the storm with remarkable silence: only peacemeal steps have been taken in 2017 on the multilateral level in the areas of effective institutions for debt crisies prevention and resolution. The 2017 UNCTAD Debt Management Conference that took place in Geneva from 16th to 18th October and the Paris Forum the day after provided a glance on what is to come. The 11th UNCTAD Debt Management Conference took place in an environment where the debt crisis is moving southwards again. While the “transatlantic crisis” has dominated academic and political discourses in ...

Aid subsidies for companies: a formula for leaving no-one behind?

Polly Meeks

23 Nov 2017 19:04:29

Many donor agencies argue that part of the solution to financing the Sustainable Development Goals lies in using aid money to incentivise – or subsidise – the use of private commercial finance for development purposes. This is often referred to as blended finance, or blending. Yet a growing body of independent analysis shows that the links between blended finance and the achievement of sustainable development objectives are more complex and problematic than they may first appear. Nowhere is this clearer than in the assertion that blended finance can contribute to the objective of leaving no-one behind. Next week the 5th African Union-European Union Summit will take place in Cote d’Ivoire, and blending is likely to be centre stage. In September, the European Union launched the new European ...

The OECD DAC High Level Meeting: major risks defused, but will the long game deliver for the poorest?


02 Nov 2017 15:09:15

This blog was co-authored by Polly Meeks (Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at Eurodad) and Julie Seghers (Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam)The stakes couldn’t have been higher going into this week’s High Level Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). Globally, hunger is on the rise for the first time this century, and this year, the world is on the brink of four famines. An unprecedented 65 million people are on the move – and refugee numbers are at their highest since World War II. With hundreds of millions of people still living in extreme poverty, often compounded by other forms of inequality, the core challenges of poverty eradication and human rights-based sustainable development remain a matter of urgency. The ...