Archive for Aid



Social Impact Bonds: Explained

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed his budget. The most interesting part is a minuscule fraction set aside for social impact bonds. In this post, we explain what that means.

To create this interactive post, I used the free “zooming presentation” software Prezi. After the presentation loads, use the forward and backward arrows to go through the presentation or click on the target on the bottom right to explore the presentation. As always, let us know your thoughts.

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Stop the Worship and Measure the Impact

It’s easy to get wrapped up in an attractive story: the Harvard grad who gave up a comfortable life on Wall Street to move to Africa and start a microfinance institution or the pretty 17-year-old model who abandoned a promising career to rescue orphans in Cambodia.

Daniela Papi, of PEPY and PEPY Tours, points out that not only is this “hero worship” superficial, it’s also harmful. On her blog, she relays a story she heard from a friend: » Continue reading “Stop the Worship and Measure the Impact”

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Poor People not Poor Countries

A recent post in the Guardian’sPoverty Matters” blog, touched upon an important idea. The idea is that globally, we should focus on poor people, not just poor countries.

When the World Bank carried out its annual reclassification in July, Senegal, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen all graduated to middle-income status – countries that have reached the $1,000 (£644) or so GDP threshold.

Taken by themselves, not big news perhaps, but add to that 22 other countries which, since 2000, are no longer considered officially poor, then a quite profound global change is under way: in short, most of the world’s poor no longer live in “poor” countries. » Continue reading “Poor People not Poor Countries”

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A Third Way

If you are at all interested in the “development conversation,” you could not have missed the Canadian doubles match that was played last week between Dambisa Moyo and William Easterly on one side versus Jeffrey Sachs on the other. It has been more exciting than watching Roger Federer win his first French Open (albeit without defeating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros) and tie Pete Sampras’s record of 14 majors. What started out as a critique of Dambisa Moyo and her new book “Dead Aid” by Jeffrey Sachs morphed into a full-on war – Jeffrey Sachs and the pro-aid establishment vs. William Easterly and the aid skeptics. (Somehow, Moyo and her book have been lost in the fray.) It started on the Huffington Post but crept into mainstream media and even Twitter!

These two scholars have tried to make the aid debate black and white.  If you are pro-aid, you are somehow painted as a rent-seeking idealist (ironic, I know). If you are against it, you somehow want Africa to starve, both literally and metaphorically. But the debate around aid needs to be viewed on a spectrum: there is more to this than meets the eye. In fact, although aid has its obvious shortfalls, it broadly works: poverty would be higher in the absence of aid. We must look beyond reasons why aid has failed to reasons why aid has not worked better. » Continue reading “A Third Way”

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