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She Decides, But Who Pays?

This week, representatives from 50-plus countries gathered in Brussels for the “She Decides” conference, raising about $190 million in pledges to support women’s reproductive and sexual health and rights around the world. This is great news, but the relatively small absolute scale of the pledges highlights the challenge of substituting for US financial and political leadership.

The Damage Already Done to the Foreign Assistance Budget

When White House officials decided to talk publicly about a big boost in defense spending and big cuts for EPA, the State Department, and foreign assistance while still deep in their internal negotiation process, they did so for political reasons, making a direct case to voters devoid of any clearly stated policy rationale. It’s been encouraging, and even a little bit surprising, to see strong and quick statements of opposition coming from key Republicans in the Senate and House as well as the military community. But the reality remains that the White House has decided to politicize foreign assistance in a way that we have not seen for over 30 years.

On Inequality, Redistribution, and Wishful Thinking

A key goal of tax-and-spending policies is to alleviate poverty by redistributing income from the haves to the have-nots. The extent that this is possible depends on the balance between the number of higher earners and the number of poor people, and the efficiency of the mechanisms used.

Global Fund Executive Director Reboot

This week, the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria was set to name the organization’s new executive director. Instead, after the shortlist of candidates appeared in the New York Times, some in the global health community anonymously expressed concerns about the selection process and its results—and the Board abruptly announced it would restart the process from scratch. As the executive director search reboots, I am looking for candidates that have clarity, concrete plans, and capacity to make progress in three areas—the big 3—that are essential to the Fund’s survival: results, efficiency, and money.

Demonetization Ushers in New Era of Digital Finance in India

It has been more than 100 days since the Modi government declared that the two largest denomination notes in India—the 500 and 1000 rupee notes—would no longer be accepted as legal tender. The announcement of “demonetization” had an immediate and sweeping effect on Indian households, which were no longer allowed to use the notes (outside of a few narrow exceptions) and were given less than eight weeks to deposit or exchange them.

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