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The Latin American Herald Tribune quotes research fellow Ben Leo on Honduras' progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
From the article:
According to a new report by Ben Leo, research fellow at the Washington-based Center for Global Development, Honduras has been the top scorer in the world, either meeting or surpassing six out of eight top goals. In terms of the number one goal, reducing extreme poverty by half, Honduras has exceeded expectations with a 58 percent reduction -- nine years ahead of schedule.
Development experts pinpoint that some of the top achievers of the Millennium Development Goals have been some of the poorest. “Sub-Saharan Africa accounts (for) the largest number of star performers with five countries,” Leo noted in his report. There are only two other Latin American countries among the top 15 performers, Nicaragua and Bolivia, the only two countries in the region with lower gross domestic product per capita than Honduras.
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The New York Times quotes senior fellow Mead Over on the cost of ARVs.
From the article:
Experts say investing in AIDS prevention is fiscally far preferable to the costs for lifelong treatment. Mead Over, a health economist at the Center for Global Development, says that providing antiretroviral therapy to the five million people with AIDS in Africa already receiving it will cost $72 billion over the next four decades. That amount rises to $225 billion if the number of people on treatment continues to grow.
“Donors should not be nickel and diming this research because by spending only $100 million they have a prospect of saving billions of dollars in treatment costs,” Mr. Over said.
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The UN News Centre reports that Nancy Birdsall has been included in a Group of Eminent Persons to advise on development matters.
From the article:
25 August 2010: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed a Group of Eminent Persons to advise on the support needed to help the world’s poorest nations achieve their development targets, ahead of a major international conference on the least developed countries (LDCs) slated for next year…
The Group of Eminent Persons also comprises Sir Fazle Hassan Abed, the founder and chairperson of BRAC, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee; Nancy Birdsall, the founding president of the Center for Global Development; Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings Institution, and a former head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); and James Wolfensohn, chairman and CEO of Wolfensohn & Company and former President of the World Bank.
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CQ quotes Sarah Jane Staats on empty USAID posts.
From the article:
Sarah Janes Staats, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development, which works to reduce global poverty, said the fact that those nominations didn’t get a Senate vote before recess was both a surprise and a disappointment. The concern now, said Staats, is that the “congressional calendar is quite short for the rest year” and that the current Congress could expire before the nominations are considered.
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Why America Needs to Ramp Up Aid to Pakistan
By Molly Kinder and Wren Elhai
"Heart-wrenching," said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Sunday upon surveying Pakistan's ongoing floods. The U.N. chief called the floods "the worst natural disaster" he said he had ever seen. The numbers explain why. More people have been affected by Pakistan's catastrophic floods than any other natural disaster on record -- over 20 million and counting. That's more than were affected by the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and this year's earthquake in Haiti combined. As millions of dislocated Pakistanis search for shelter and food and as health conditions deteriorate and disease spreads, the need for an immediate, large-scale humanitarian response is urgent. And this is just the beginning. Once the floodwaters subside from Pakistan's swollen rivers, the task of rebuilding will be staggering - with a price tag in the billions, and lasting for years to come. The effectiveness of the response to these relief and rebuilding challenges will have serious implications for the wellbeing of the country's citizens, for the peace and stability of Pakistan and the entire South Asian region, and for U.S. national security.
Despite the enormous scale of the disaster, not enough help for Pakistan's flood victims is on the way. The government of Pakistan, completely overwhelmed by the disaster, has been widely criticized for its woefully inadequate relief operations. Meanwhile, the response from the international community has been stunningly anemic. Donors' pledged commitments amount to less than half of the U.N.'s urgent appeal for $459 million in humanitarian relief. In contrast, more than $1 billion was pledged for the Haiti earthquake in the first few weeks after the quake.
Given its national security and foreign policy interests in the region, the United States has the greatest stake in Pakistan's success, and is responding to the floods with the largest commitment of any donor. But the United States can and should do more. President Obama instructed his administration to "lean forward" to support Pakistan. The United States should do more than lean; it should lead the international community with a majority stake in Pakistan's relief and recovery. So far, the U.S. has pledged just $76 million for immediate humanitarian relief. These pledges have come in bits and pieces-$10 million dollars here, another $30 million there, a shipment of emergency bridges there. There is no doubt that this funding has provided relief to thousands of displaced Pakistani citizens. But the total amount is a paltry sum compared to the needs in Pakistan, amounts pledged for other (less catastrophic) disasters, and what's at stake for the U.S.-Pakistan relations. (For another comparison: $76 million is the bottom bound for the amount that pop singer Madonna paid last year in a divorce settlement with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie.) This modest response to such massive destruction is unlikely to convince Pakistanis that the United States is standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the face of an unprecedented disaster.
What would a majority stake commitment cost? If the United States were to commit to funding half of the U.N.'s appeal for immediate humanitarian relief, the bill would be just under $230 million dollars -- less than one sixth of the $1.5 billion in economic assistance to Pakistan the U.S. has already committed for this year alone. To avoid trade-offs between immediate humanitarian needs and the enormous reconstruction and rebuilding needs over the medium to long term, this $230 million commitment for immediate relief should be supplementary funding, above and beyond the $1.5 billion already committed for Pakistan's long-term development. Beyond the relief efforts, the United States, like the World Bank, should commit to reprogram at least half ($750 million) in already committed aid to projects directly related to long-term recovery and reconstruction from flood damage.
Why would such a large commitment be in the U.S. interest? First, because an effective, large-scale humanitarian response could help demonstrate U.S. goodwill to the Pakistan public. In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, when the United States responded swiftly with Chinook helicopters and millions of dollars in relief supplies, Pakistani public opinion toward the United States showed significant improvement, if only briefly. On the flip side, anything short of a swift, large-scale U.S. response runs the risk of feeding into the narrative in Pakistan that U.S. aid is slow to arrive and does not benefit the country's people. A recent Pew poll found that 16 percent of Pakistanis don't believe the United States is giving any aid at all, while another 33 percent thinks the United States gives only a little or hardly any aid. If that $1.5 billion per year commitment cannot be mobilized to bring relief to the millions now in need, Pakistanis might well wonder, then what is it for?
A decisive response would not be simply a public relations gambit. All the reasons the United States had for tripling development assistance to Pakistan through the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill are now magnified ten-fold, including buttressing Pakistan's civilian government, improving Pakistan public opinion, enhancing stability, and mitigating Pakistan's extremist threat. Today, the floods are eroding public confidence in Pakistan's civilian government, providing an opening for extremist groups, and building an ever-increasing cohort of disaffected citizens. In the Swat valley, many of the families who are now displaced by floodwaters were only last year displaced by fighting between the Pakistani military and the Taliban. Economic assistance was meant to demonstrate to these people that their government is a better partner than the Taliban or other Islamist groups. Those plans are now in jeopardy.
There are few countries in the world that matter more to the security of the United States than Pakistan, and few moments when so many compelling interests -- moral, security, strategic, and humanitarian -- point as clearly to the need for decisive action and bold U.S. leadership. An announcement by Secretary Clinton, perhaps at the U.N. conference for Pakistan relief that is scheduled to be held later this week, that the United States will take a majority stake in Pakistan's immediate humanitarian response would be a powerful signal of this leadership. And, we hope, such an announcement would be a first step in a long-term investment not only in Pakistan's peaceful and stable recovery but also in Americans' safety at home.
Molly Kinder is a Senior Policy Analyst and Wren Elhai is a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Development. Kinder leads the Center's U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan initiative.
Listen to the interview
Waterborne diseases and food-and-water shortages follow the worst floods in Pakistan's recorded history. Millions of lives and political stability are threatened. The international relief effort and why many are still not getting help.
South Asia adviser and manager of the Pakistan program for the United States Institute of Peace.
Senior policy analyst and manager of U.S. development strategy in Pakistan for the Center for Global Development.
Co-director, the Center for Infectious Disease at Georgetown University; professor of chemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center.
The Financial Times published Arvind Subramanian's op-ed on India's economic growth
India's Weak State Will Not Overhaul China
By Arvind Subramanian.
As India enters its 64th year since independence, its economic dynamism presents a paradox. On most measures of market friendliness, it lags behind Latin America, and even sub-Saharan Africa. It is still more closed to trade and foreign capital than most other countries; still hampered by extensive controls on economic activity, including onerous labour laws; and still dominated by a large public sector. In short, it should be growing at 5 per cent, not 8½ per cent, a year.
Long-run growth depends on the quality of supporting public institutions. True, the India of today is less of a regulatory nightmare than before the opening-up in 1991. Some institutions – those that hold elections, preserve financial stability and regulate telecommunications, for example – have worked well. But these exceptions apart, the state is weak and fraying. Policy reforms do not deserve the spectacular acceleration in growth that the economy has delivered.
Part of the problem is that Indian politics is getting progressively criminalised. The writ of the state does not run in nearly a quarter of its territory, with much of that area afflicted by violent insurrections. Corruption is endemic. And while India’s high growth should have led to low debt, fiscal populism has ensured that India’s public finances are almost as wobbly as those in the debt-addled industrial countries.
Such is the crisis it seems increasingly possible the Commonwealth games – supposedly a cause for celebrating the rise of a new India – will be scaled down or not held at all. New facilities, including stadiums, remain unfinished. Cost over-runs are astronomical and graft rampant. The obvious contrast with China’s 2009 Olympics will illustrate all too starkly the core weakness of Indian governance.
This weakness is the result of a mix of both gradual deterioration over time (most obviously in the political arena) with growing demands on the state. But it leaves a puzzle: why is India growing so quickly? Conventional explanations focus on elite education and a dynamic information technology sector. These have played an important role in kick-starting growth but are too small in size and too narrow in the benefits they generate to sustain growth in such a large economy. The real explanation may be that, while policymakers have done the minimum to start growth, growth itself is now the driver of change and is begetting more growth.
This dynamic works through three channels. First, growth for three decades has widened entrepreneurship, and made the pursuit of money-making respectable. India, in the words of political scientist Devesh Kapur, is now a new nation of hustlers, constantly searching for economic opportunities – including ways of circumventing onerous rules – that, in turn, keep the growth engine purring along.
The second route comes as rising demand allows the private to replace the public sector. Consider education. Development economists have long bemoaned the Indian government’s failure to supply good schools. But growth has changed the picture dramatically, largely because it has increased the returns from, and hence the demand for, education. Just look at private schools mushrooming in rural India because of teacher absenteeism in public schools or companies creating training centres to build skills in the cities because institutions of higher education are in shambles.
Finally, competition between India’s states has also helped. The Nano, an iconic attempt to produce a reasonably priced car for India’s mass market, is a good example. Regulations stopped its manufacturer, the Tata group, starting a factory in West Bengal. In the India of old, this would have killed the project. But now the state of Gujarat, which is a rare model of good economic governance, has taken the project instead.
Even just a few Gujarats should be enough gradually to force other state governments to change policies, while strong growth will also force the wider state to respond – even if weakly and intermittently. A not totally dysfunctional state combined with a new and no-holds-barred spirit of hustling, mean India’s economic hopes are unlikely to come unstuck. Yet the Indian state will seldom be ahead of the curve in initiating or galvanising wider economic change. And that bottleneck will make Chinese-type growth rates elusive.
The writer is a senior fellow jointly at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Center for Global Development in Washington DC