This post first appeared on Views from the Center. Spare a thought for the British Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening. If any of her Ministerial colleagues had announced a new £1.8 billion (US $3 billion) initiative, they would have been on the news. Heck, they might have been on the front page.
Author Archives: Owen Barder
I am discussing the the future of development cooperation, and the role of Northern NGOs,, with the policy, advocacy and campaigns team at ActionAid UK this morning. Powerpoint is forbidden. I’m going to paint ten broad brushstrokes about the future of development cooperation: 1. Fighting poverty is no longer mainly about helping poor people in poor countries 72% of the world’s poor live in middle income countries, mainly in stable, non-fragile countries. Two thirds of the worlds poor live in just five countries: China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Last August I pointed out that O2 has a product which is particularly useful for people who travel a lot, especially in countries with high roaming charges (including many developing countries). It is an app which enables you to use your UK phone number for texts and calls anywhere you can get onto the internet. I have not tried it myself (because I have a different mobile operator) so I am pleased to share the following first-hand experience from a friend living overseas: Hi Owen I saw your five tasks post – and wanted to say thanks. I know you have an interest in tech, and have seen a recent post of yours asking about TUGo from O2 in the UK. So I thought I’d say thankyou by reporting on that
I received an unwelcome email a few weeks ago from an IT-literate friend. His computer wouldn’t start, he said. He had backups of most of the data on it, but not the family photos stored there, which were irreplaceable. Could I help?
Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University, talks about his book, The Great Escape, which brings together his research into health, well-being, and economic development. In his book, Professor Deaton talks about the great progress that is being made in health and well-being, but also the problem of inequality within and between nations. The book finishes with a robust critique of the aid business, leading Professor Deaton to recommend that industrialised countries should spend money for, but not in, developing countries. In the podcast, I discuss with Professor Deaton the difference between happiness and well-being, the drivers of improved health around the world, and the implications of inequality of material well-being
This post first appeared on Views from the Center At a recent book launch, I was on a panel on which we were asked whether we can show that aid is a good use of public money, if the problems it aims to tackle are complex. I replied with a half-remembered statistic, which (now that I have had a chance to look at the numbers) turns out to have been right. It was this: If you add up all the aid that all OECD countries have given since they started counting it in 1960, and then assume that the only thing that this aid has achieved was the eradication of smallpox, then the whole thing would still be a bargain, costing less than half what the UK National Health Service spends on average to save a life. (This comparison was suggested by Toby Ord at the University of Oxford. To find out more about Toby listen to this edition of Development Drums.) Here are the numbers.
This joint post with Petra Krylová first appeared on Views from the Center For the last decade, we have talked a lot of talk about new development partnerships; but have we walked the walk? The Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index, now in its eleventh year, gauges whether wealthy countries are pursuing development-friendly policies–not just on aid but on many other things which matter for development. We recently announced the 2013 results here. After 11 years of calculating the index we can ask the question: have the policies of rich countries got better over time? The answer: Yes, but less than you would think.
This joint post with Petra Krylová first appeared on the Center for Global Development blog, Views from the Center. It announces the publication of the 2013 Commitment to Development Index, which is CGD’s annual exercise to score affluent countries according to whether they have development-friendly policies. The calculations for the 2013 CDI were all done by David Roodman, now at the Gates Foundation, and by Julia Clark, now at UC San Diego. For the second year in row, the winner of the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) is Denmark. (Tillykke!) Denmark does not have the highest score in any individual component, but it has the most consistently development-friendly policies across the board.
There is an article in the Washington Post about humanitarian relief in the Philippines by Vij Ramachandran and me. (For those who quaintly enjoy their news etched on to dead trees, this will appear in the paper on Sunday, apparently.) We argue that the aid effort could be significantly improved by the use of technology and transparency. The full text of the article is below. Wally Santana/Associated Press – Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan plead with military for water as they wait for an evacuation flight in the central Philippines on Nov.
A letter in today’s Financial Times by Caroline Fiennes, David Hall Matthews, Fran Perrin, Vij Ramachandran and me argues that relief efforts could be more effective if humanitarian aid agencies published details of what they are doing. November 11, 2013 9:48 pm Co-ordinate aid using existing systems From Mr Owen Barder and others. Relief arrives after a typhoon in 2010 Sir, International relief is urgently needed in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, and we hope that it will be provided generously and quickly. We also hope that it will be provided effectively: sadly, experience of previous humanitarian disasters is that aid is often badly targeted, such that some efforts are duplicated while other priorities are neglected.
It is not very hard (but it is much harder than it should be) to set yourself up to be able to receive encrypted emails. I am using Mailvelope which adds encryption to Gmail. The idea is that you publish a key (mine is here) which other people can use to encrypt a message to you; because you are the only person with the other half of the key, only you can decode the message. I think it would be a good idea for most people to use encryption most of the time. This makes it less likely that information is accidentally released (such as your bank account details) and also makes it harder for the state (or other people’s states) to intercept our communications
We cycled from Hackney to Cambridge yesterday. Of the 105km, the first 15km or so were through the suburbs (including Chigwell, where footballers buy their mansions). From there, our friend Ian showed us a route through beautiful, wide-open country spaces and little Essex villages. The village of Arkesden in Essex We stopped for coffee at The White Horse in Hatfield Heath – the village tea rooms nearby were also crowded with cyclists.