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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

organised by ODI

"It is almost half-time": Will the SADC Region achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015?

Source: Southern Africa Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)

This Bulletin is a product of the joint efforts of SARPN and its cooperating partners, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Services Centre. This Bulletin builds on the work of the first one and is an attempt to fill the niche in the region in terms of intellectual analyses of the MDG policy discourse. It also responds to the need for a regional quarterly and up to date publication which arouses interest, awareness and keeps the development workers in the SADC region (and beyond) informed about and engaged with developments and progress in the fight against poverty in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are widely believed and accepted to offer the most comprehensive framework for the reduction of poverty. The SARPN MDG Bulletin is intended as a platform for debate and information exchange on practices and strategies around the framework. The MDG Bulletin is also intended to provide the space for a range of voices to interrogate underlying and emerging assumptions and trends as well as the policies and activities that relate to the MDGs. While the focus of the Bulletin is the SADC region, inevitably, and as a result of the global nature of the MDGs and, indeed, the global nature of poverty, some of the perspectives included may have relevance beyond the region.

The content of the MDG Bulletin will comprise a diverse range of articles and stories drawn from distinguished development workers ranging from consultants, academics, individuals working in different types of civil society and private sector organisations as well as policy makers.

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Organisation for Social Sicence Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) Bulletin

Source: Organisation for Social Sicence Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA)

In this edition,


OSSREA Executive Committee Meeting
OSSREA Liaison Officers Meet
Consultative Meeting with Civil Society Organisations on the African Union’s Decision and Policy on Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development
The UPeace-OSSREA Research Capacity Building Workshop: Developing Peace Research Skills in Africa
Implementation of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Policy in Africa
OSSREA Chapters Activities
OSSREA Mozambique Chapter
OSSREA Zimbabwe Chapter

Feature Articles

50th Independence Anniversary, Celebrating Ghana 1957 and Forgetting the Sudan 1956: The Reasons Why
Kwesi Kwaa Prah

Doing Research on Sexuality in Africa: Ethical Dilemmas and the Positioning of the Researcher
Emídio Gune and Sandra Manuel

Evaluating the Millennium Development Goals: An African Perspective
Thiyane Duda

Globalisation and The Irresponsible State: Demystifying the Fragile State Agenda
Owen B. Sichone

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AERC Research News

Source: African Economic Research Consortium

This edition of Research News was the first for Olu Ajakaiye, the AERC Research Director and the first after the launch of the AERC Strategic Plan for 2005 - 2010, whose theme is continuity and innovation. In Policy Forum, Stephen Gelb addresses the feasibility of attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. After reminding us of the abysmal performance of sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2005, as enunciated in the MDGs progress report, Professor Gelb takes issue with the stance of the Millennium Development Project that the binding constraint to ending poverty in SSA is finance. In his view, at least two problems confront this money is the problem argument: The prevalence of states weakened by 20 years of structural adjustment and economic decline and the preponderance of even weaker or missing institutions. Without effective states and strong institutions, he posits that SSA countries would not be able to use the massive amounts of financial support proposed. Professor Gelb suggests that unless poverty reduction, improved health and education, and gender equity are at the heart of policy goals, any coalition to support policy would exclude the interests of the majority of the population and would stand little chance of succeeding politically.

Considerable attention is given to 'Collaborative Research' in this issue because the substantive aspects of all collaborative research projects embarked on during the late 1990s have been concluded. Some of the projects were massive – they produced numerous individual country case studies and involved as many as 150 researchers – and as a part of the dissemination process, it is important to articulate clearly the key findings and policy lessons that can be drawn from them. Accordingly, the project coordinators have provided summaries of the major findings and policy lessons emanating from the following research projects:

• African Imperatives in the New World Trade Order

• Explaining African Economic Growth Performance

• Poverty, Income Distribution and Labour Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (phase I)

• Managing the Transition from Aid Dependence in Africa

• Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa

The collaborative research project on 'Managing the Transition from Aid Dependence in Africa', coordinated by Samuel M. Wangwe and Carol Lancaster, stemmed from concern about ever higher levels of aid dependence in Africa, coupled with equal concern about the efficacy of aid. The output of this project has already been published by AERC in the form of the report of the dissemination conference organized in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), the World Bank, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The ODC also published a Policy Essay on Managing a Smooth Transition from Aid Dependence in Africa.

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The Millennium Challenge Account: A New Chance for Ghana

Source: CDD Ghana

This report argues that the US’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) aims to build local-level capacity so that by the end of the five-year period recipient countries are in more favourable positions to attract investment and donor support. In addition, the MCA aims to enable recipient states, like Ghana, to make better use of its own funds by building local capacity and expertise. Finally, barring any serious mismanagement of funds, political changes in the US government will not affect the MCA. Therefore, it is up to (Millennium Development Authority) MiDA and the Ghanaian government to make greater efforts in implementation, governance, and sustainability of MCA.

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Impossible Architecture: Why the financial structure is not working for the poor and how to redesign it

Author: Social Watch Report 2006

The Social Watch report is published yearly since 1996 and is unique amongst reports focussing on social development and gender equality in its “bottom up” approach. This is not a commissioned report published from a centralised international organisation, but a compilation of the findings of civil society organisations working on social issues, on how their authorities are implementing the programs that they have committed themselves to in international fora like the Social Summit, the Beijing Conference on Women and the Millennium Summit.

Those findings by citizen groups are complemented with statistics and innovative indexes developed by Social Watch researchers, such as the Basic Capabilities Index and the Gender Equity Index.

The main theme of this year’s Social Watch report is the international financial architecture and how it needs to be reformed in order to create an enabling environment for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals

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Amartya Sen review of “White Man's Burden?

Amartya Sen, Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, reviews The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly.

According to Sen the book offers important insights about the pitfalls of foreign aid. However, he criticises Easterly's attack on global "do-gooders" arguing that aid can work when implemented correctly.

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