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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

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Interview with Antonio Tujan Jr.

[Introducction]: Ahead of the UN’s Financing for Development Review Conference in Doha, Antonio Tujan Jr. of the IBON Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Manila, assessed donors’ track record in an interview with Hans Dembowski. He demands more policy space for the governments of developing countries, and urges donors to expand debt relief.

To read the full interview, click here

The myth of NGO superiority

By Peter Nunnenkamp

In this article, the author replies to Kishore Mahbubani’s article -The myth of western aid- by stressing that it is easy to lament the stinginess and selfishness of official donors. At the same time, he points out that there is also a myth around the performance of Non Guvernamental Organisations (NGOs).
’While donors provide critics with the data needed to expose the flaws of official development assistance (ODA), it is different with NGOs. Their aid is certainly relevant, but its allocation has hardly been mapped, let alone explained. The main reason is that sufficiently detailed data are hard to come by. After all, NGOs probably do not want critical analysis to tarnish their image of being superior donors.
Recent research suggests that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) do not provide better targeted or more efficient aid than state-run development agencies. They do not seem to even try to outperform the latter by focussing on the neediest or by working in particularly difficult environments.’

To read the full article, click here

The myth of western aid

By Kishore Mahbubani

Executive Summary: The story of Western aid to the Third World needs to be demystified. Western populations almost universally believe that the story of Western aid is of massive transfers of aid to poor Third World countries for purely altruistic reasons. They know that much of this aid has not resulted in successful development. But many believe that this is not the fault of the West. It is true that there is a huge scandal of corruption on Western aid that is waiting to be exposed. However, if and when this story is fully exposed, it is the West that will be deeply embarrassed. The full story will show that the wide-held belief of altruistic Western aid is nothing but a myth.

To read the full article, click here

¿El paraíso en la otra esquina? Reflexiones sobre eficiencia de la ayuda en los países de ingreso medio y ...

... la cooperación entre la Unión Europea y América Latina en el nuevo milenio

Autor: Carlos Santiso

La cooperación para el desarrollo en América Latina se enmarca en el contexto de los contrastes del desarrollo en la región, en particular la perseverancia de la pobreza y persistencia de la desigualdad. Aunque la gran mayoría de los países latinoamericanos tiene grados intermedios de desarrollo, los índices de pobreza y exclusión siguen altos, tanto en términos relativos como absolutos.
Si para mejorar la eficiencia de la ayuda se opta por concentrarla en aquellos países con mayores índices de pobreza promedio, en particular en África subsahariana, entonces, dónde quedan aquellos países con grados de desarrollo intermedio pero con altos índices de inequidad y gran número de pobres?
Este breve artículo tiene un doble propósito. Primero, trata de esbozar una serie de planteamientos sobre lo que significa —para América Latina— ser una región de ingreso y renta intermedios. Segundo, ofrece unas pautas para reflexionar sobre la justificación y eficiencia de la cooperación europea con la región. Empero, es necesario subrayar que la preocupación mayor no reside tanto en la cantidad de recursos suministrados por la cooperación, sino más bien en su calidad, es decir, la eficiencia de la ayuda en países de ingreso medio.

Para leer el artículo completo, haga click aquí

Bretton Woods institutions send mixed messages about China’s role in Africa

By Bank Information Centre (BIC)

[Introduction]: Since the Chinese economy has taken off and it has increasingly looked to Africa to provide raw materials, the World Bank and IMF have been confronted with the question of how to respond. Recent statements by the institutions have shown that these responses are careful and at times contradictory.
This article comments on the position taken by the WB and the IMF on the increasing presence of Chinese investment in Africa.

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Unity In Diversity: Governance Adaptation In Multilateral Trade Institutions Through South-South Coalition-Building

By Vicente Paolo B. Yu III

This paper discusses the ways in which developing countries participate in the institutional governance mechanisms of the WTO and UNCTAD, the two premier multilateral trade governance institutions.
The current global trading system exemplifies “some historical and structural inequities” in which the rules are “less advantageous for developing countries.” Changing the rules of the trading game to make them more equitable and capable of supporting developing countries’ development interests will require addressing the flaws in the institutional architecture which shapes and implements those rules.
The experience of developing countries, individually and collectively, during the more recent period of globalization has only confirmed that developing countries need to be consistent and united in promoting their views and interests, and that to succeed it is also essential for them to join forces and pursue group action in most domains on the development agenda. With a number of developing countries having made important progress and strides in development and economic growth, the collective weight of the South should be used for launching major policy initiatives, as well as to counter the systemic economic and political imbalances that favour the developed countries.

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Critical Conditions

By Nuria Molina and Javier Pereira

[ExecutiveSummary]: Faced with strong criticism for its expansive and erroneous use of conditionality, and in the wake of a financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved in 2002 a set of guidelines to inform its use of structural conditionality. The Conditionality Guidelines committed the Fund to reduce the overall number of conditions attached to Fund lending and ensure that those attached respected and were drawn from nationally developed poverty plans in recognitions that developing country ownership is instrumental for successful development.
This report looks at the effectiveness of the Conditionality Guidelines in reforming IMF conditionality during the five years since the Guidelines were approved. Based on IMF figures, Eurodad examines the share of Fund structural conditions which prescribe highly sensitive and intrusive policy reforms.
This report analyses the IMF’s own figures to demonstrate that no further progress has been made since 2004, and casts serious doubts about the genuine commitment of the institution to streamlining its structural conditionality and speed up the application of their own conditionality policy. Faced with in-depth structural reforms of its own, the Fund should take this opportunity to speed up implementation of their Conditionality Guidelines and take further steps in the streamlining initiative.

To read the full report, click here

Brasil versus Banco del Sur

Autor: Oscar Ugarteche

El presente artículo identifica la creciente perdida de legitimidad de las Instituciones Financieras Internacionales y la debilidad del dólar estadounidense como una oportunidad para ampliar el concepto del Banco del Sur a uno de arquitectura financiera regional incluyendo un banco de desarrollo, un fondo de estabilización y una unidad monetaria sudamericana. El Banco del Sur se ocuparía de financiar una matriz de desarrollo suramericano y de recircular los excedentes en divisas que hay en Suramérica en los bancos centrales y que ahora financian a los Estados Unidos.
Dentro de este debate, el gobierno brasileño presenta resistencias vinculadas a una virtual competencia del Banco del Sur con su Banco de Desarrollo (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social -BNDES), y a su interés en que el Banco del Sur financie la IIRSA, una red de carreteras inter-amazónicas. Sin embargo, para el autor IIRSA es una discusión al margen de la urgencia de una arquitectura financiera regional: Primero diseñemos y hagamos posible la arquitectura luego discutamos la IIRSA. Por otro lado, mientras que el BNDES se avoca a la promoción del interés nacional brasileño, el Banco del Sur se dedicaría a financiar una matriz de desarrollo suramericano.
A estas alturas, oponerse a la arquitectura financiera sudamericana es hacerle un servicio al status quo, al Tesoro estadounidense y a las instituciones financieras de Washington, debilitadas y desprestigiadas.

Para leer el documento completo, haga click aquí

Closing all Paths to Trade-led Development? The IMF Revises Guiding Principles on Surveillance

By Aldo Caliari

In June 2007, after over one year of review, the Fund modified its main guidelines on the implementation of Article IV of its Articles of Agreement. The guidelines, issued originally in 1977, regulated the Fund’s role in exercising surveillance over the exchange rate policies of member countries.
The group of G24 (group of developing country members in the IMF) expressed to be "especially concerned that expanding the principles for the guidance of members in the Decision would blur the distinction between surveillance over exchange rate policies and over domestic policies”

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Will Doha, like Dracula, Come Back from the Dead?

By Walden Bello and Mary Lou Malig

This article presents an overview of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation rounds, posting a question on whether the most recent “mini-ministerial” gathering in Geneva could mean the final collapse of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
From the Uruguay Round to the current Doha Round, WTO negotiation rounds have been failing to address the interest of developing countries in favour of developed countries. Developing countries had come to the realization that they had bargained away significant space for development and thus they are in no mood to agree in more concessions to liberalize global trade, as the big trading powers demanded. While the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have not showed willingness to give more than minor concessions on agricultural subsidies, different alliances have been formed by Developing countries (G20, G33 and G90) to resist pressures to open up their industrial sectors and services.
In this sense, the authors stress that the “Doha Development Round,” seems to have little to do with development and everything to do with expanding developed country access to developing country markets.

To read the full article, click here

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