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2017 development aid figures: A half empty mixed bag

Jeroen Kwakkenbos

19 Apr 2018 08:16:57

Last week the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their preliminary figures on the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA), or development aid, raised in 2017. The week before I wrote a blog outlining Eurodad’s expectations for these figures – and the results are a mixed bag. While certain negative trends seem to be on the mend, overall the amount of aid raised every year has stagnated in volume and although there was positive economic growth across donor countries ODA dropped to 0.31% of Gross National Income (GNI). The continued inclusion of costs not directly linked to development and poverty eradication inflate the figures and undermines the credibility of the reporting exercise of a scarce resource ...

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European Parliament sounds the alarm over developing world debt crisis

Mark Perera

17 Apr 2018 15:50:58

This article has been originally published in EurActiv.The number of poor countries facing major debt crises has doubled since 2013, and only 1 in 5 are now considered to be at low risk of crisis. With some countries in the midst of crisis and others on the brink, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a pipe dream, writes Mark Perera. The debt burden of developing countries has been rising fast, both in absolute terms, and in relation to economic indicators such as GDP, export earnings, and government revenue – trends are driven by a number of factors. Monetary policy decisions in advanced economies introduced in the wake of the global financial crisis, including by the European Central Bank, triggered a lending boom to the developing world.  Falls ...

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IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare?

Jesse Griffiths, Gino Brunswijck

12 Apr 2018 16:16:07

The article was initially published in the Global Health Check. Last year, the IMF tried to counter long-running accusations that its programmes damage health outcomes in developing countries, but the independent evidence points in the opposite direction. The question is whether the IMF will use this year’s reviews of its lending to switch approach and start helping Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The IMF claims to protect health expenditure An IMF blog from March last year claimed that: “A number of studies have found that IMF support for countries’ reforms, on average, either preserve or increase public health spending.” However, the evidence provided was weak. Of the six studies referenced, ...

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Upcoming aid (ODA) numbers: will the decline in resources reaching poor countries be halted?

Jeroen Kwakkenbos

05 Apr 2018 11:08:38

Next week the OECD DAC will release preliminary figures for the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA), or development “aid”, raised by its member states. Recent years have seen a significant increase in spending within donor countries and a steady decline of resources flowing to the world’s poorest countries: will the new figures demonstrate that the international community has begun to tackle these trends which diminish the credibility and effectiveness of ODA? Over the past two years the OECD DAC has celebrated a rise in overall ODA levels but, counterintuitively, the amount of aid going to the world’s poorest countries has declined. In a recent report the IMF notes: “Aid flows to [Low-Income Developing Countries] … have slipped significantly since 2013—declining ...

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Will rising international concern over a new debt crisis be matched by action?

Mark Perera

26 Mar 2018 12:00:51

Number of poor countries facing major debt crises doubles since 2013, says IMF, but are remedies robust enough? Last week, the IMF has turned up the volume on warnings of a new debt crisis in the Global South. In a report looking at macroeconomic developments in 59 of the world’s poorest countries (low-income developing countries or LIDCs), the IMF paints a bleak picture of rising debt risks and what this means for development spending. Forty per cent of LIDCs are now deemed to be at high risk of or in debt distress, with the most dramatic increases in debt vulnerabilities since 2013 generally being seen in Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, only one in five are considered to be at low risk: the lowest proportion since 2007.   What’s driving the downward debt trend? Eurodad and ...

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The fiscal costs of PPPs in the spotlight

Maria Romero

16 Mar 2018 10:05:51

This article was originally published in the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly being promoted as a way to finance development projects. To pave the way for PPPs, donor governments and financial institutions, led by the World Bank Group, have set up multiple donor initiatives to promote changes in national regulatory frameworks, to provide advice and to finance PPP projects. The value of PPPs in the developing world has grown rapidly since 2004 - over an eight-year period, investments through PPPs increased by a factor of six, from US$25 billion to US$164 billion.[1] Since then, the trend has been more volatile - although investment in PPPs fell in 2013, they picked up again and continued to increase in 2014 and in 2015 (US$104 and US$118 ...

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Why blended finance is a feminist issue

Polly Meeks

08 Mar 2018 16:14:18

This International Women’s Day we expect to see leaders across the world speaking out in favour of women’s equality and empowerment under this year’s theme of “press for progress”. Top-level political pressure for progress plays an essential role in delivering a world where the rights of women and girls are respected, protected and fulfilled. However, strong political commitments need to be matched by coherent policies at all levels – including on all forms of development finance. One increasingly fashionable form of finance is blending – combining concessional public finance (such as aid) with commercial finance to fund development-related activities in the global south. But until recently, blending had received less attention from a women’s rights perspective. In November ...

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Towards new Guiding Principles: United Nations discusses the human rights impact of economic reforms

Mark Perera

01 Mar 2018 13:39:42

This week, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights presented a report to the Human Rights Council on the development of guiding principles to put human rights at the forefront of economic policy-making in moments of crisis. As the enjoyment of universal human rights continues to be undermined by austerity and irresponsible sovereign lending and borrowing, is the IMF taking full responsibility for its role in ensuring governments meet their obligations under international human rights law?   Economic reforms turn a blind eye to human rights Evidence of the damaging impact of austerity on human rights across the globe continues to mount. From the legacy of IMF structural adjustment in indebted low-income countries, to the effects of public spending cuts across Europe ...

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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 ...

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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 ...