What a thrill to take to the stage and look out and see a standing-room-only crowd at CGD's MCA Monitor: What's Next for the Millennium Challenge Account?. The crowd was a great mix of people from NGOs, the diplomatic community, the academic world, the Administration, the Hill and the MCC itself -- a reflection of the broad interest in (and scrutiny of) the MCA as an innovation for aid delivery. A few highlights of the afternoon were:
CGD Policy Blogs
Radio Free Europe's piece, U.S 'Challenge' Aid for Tblisi Seen as Catalyst for Development offers a description of and rational for Georgia's MCA Compact proposal. According to the article, the proposal includes a major road project, the rehabilitation of a gas pipeline, and an equity fund for investments in agriculture.
Efforts to salvage the "Majengo" vaccine - the vaccine candidate based on the apparent natural immunity of prostitutes in Kenya's Majengo slums - are ending, following a continued lack of success.
See full article in AllAfrica.com.
Debt relief and African poverty are firmly on this year’s global agenda, most recently from the Tony Blair-sponsored Africa Commission. But little attention is going to the big elephant in the room: Nigeria.
Even with its oil wealth, Nigeria’s debt burden is enormous given its huge population of 130 million and its extreme poverty—average income is just $330 per year. Increasingly vital to Western energy security, Nigeria is also a worrying source of transnational security threats, including Islamic radicalism, disease, drug trafficking, and international crime.
This is Vaccination Week in the Americas, under the auspices of The Pan American Health Organization, PAHO. This is a regional initiative that aims to strengthen vaccination programs and reach more than 44 million children and adults throughout the Americas with immunizations.
Malaria costs Africa about $12 billion a year, according to the World Health Organization, reported by Reuters. WHO southern Africa regional director Antoine Kabore said:
The burden on health systems, absenteeism among school children and diminished or lost worker productivity, all contribute to make malaria a significant contributor to low economic growth in endemic countries, estimated at costing African countries about $12 billion.
David Brandling-Bennett, a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told Reuters
Denmark today became the first European country to support the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation's efforts to develop a safe, effective tuberculosis vaccine with announcements of new financial commitments and scientific partnerships. The agreements, announced today in Copenhagen at an update on TB vaccine development, strengthen Denmark's continuing role in the fight against TB.
CGD senior fellow, Steve Radelet, testified before the House International Relations Committee hearing entitled "Millennium Challenge Account: Does the Program Match the Vision?" Steve's testimony focused on six key challenges that the MCC faces as it works to make its bold vision a reality.
1. Scaling Up to the Original MCA Vision
2. Balancing the Tensions between the Consultative Process, Quality and Speed
3. Firmly Establishing the Principle of Local Ownership
4. Ensuring High Quality Programs
5. Demanding Results while Encouraging Innovation
"I am a man of action," Madagascar's President Mark Ravalomana told his audience at the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies today. Ravalomana was in Washington DC, for the signing of a $110 million poverty reduction compact between his country and the United States.
The Wall Street Journal has a front page article today about progress towards a Malaria Vaccine. (Subscription required.)
"Under two new funding strategies championed by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Britain's finance minister, Gordon Brown, rich nations and their private-sector partners for the first time would jointly guarantee the provision of vaccines against the worst scourges afflicting the developing world.