which way forward?

According to Radelet (2015), it is possible that the great surge of development progress that began in the early 1960s has the potential to continue in decades to come in the developing countries. Most mainstream projections according to Radelet suggests that developing country economies could grow at a pace that would nearly double average incomes in the next twenty years (pg,3). With that projection, millions of people will be lifted out of extreme poverty, child deaths will continue to fall, many people including women will have a secondary education and democracy will, though slowly and unevenly, continue to spread. Radelet says that alongside the challenges that have faced most economies like financial crisis, wars, hostilities etc, there are opportunities that arise from that. Technological advances and alternative energy sources unfold and developing countries have a wider pool of talent and skills from which to draw from to finance major infrastructural projects and attract investments from among themselves and beyond.

To attain and sustain this foreseeable future, Radelet suggests that countries like the USA, Japan and Europe must work closely with the developing economies to establish and maintain global conditions necessary for continued progress. Similarly, he proposes the essence of skilled leadership in developing countries for building effective institutions that can sustain progress. Radelet, Just like in the case of the leaders of the SAVI program in Nigeria , believe in the building of skills and networks among  the people other than international donors providing grants. In this case, the people will acquire the skills needed in their own specific contexts in order to foster development contrary to developmental programs being imposed on them. In collaboration with the government, the civil advocacy programs can thereby allow the intervention of international donors in terms of Foreign Aid, for the people to effectively implement development projects in the communities. It is quite evident from the movie that there are very many organizations that come up but the pioneers give funding priority over the needs of their people.

Emergence of new technologies will come with commitment, innovation and investment. Advances in energy, health, transportation, information flows will be vital to propelling progress both globally and in developing countries (Radelet2016). This progress can only be sustained with deeper and effective integration of trade, finance information, ideas as a result of these innovations. Developing countries will then be able to deepen and strengthen their institutions with progressive economic growth. This will eventually lead to a lot of saving and tax revenues leading to stronger institutions that encourage investments and build institutions necessary to sustain growth. These economies will then ignite a cycle of greater private and public investments, stronger institutions which will drive continued investments in human welfare. The gap between the developed and the developing economies will thereby be bridged. Emerging economies like Brazil, China, India, as Radelet states will be central to continuing and expanding widespread development progress which will not only be important to their citizens but will also drive economic activity in other developing countries. Radelet’s propositions for an economically level society correlate with the sustainable development goals and targets. The bottom –up method of approach is crucial in ensuring a sustained growth in the developing economies.

Blogging Prompt for 12/6/18…

What would it take, practically, to achieve the future that Radelet discusses in our first reading for today? What would governments, NGOs , and populations need to prioritize, and what resources would they need? Is the future Radelet discusses actually in reach?

Blogging Prompt for 11/20/18…

For at least the last 30 years, most development practitioners and policymakers have at least acknowledged (if not thoroughly embraced) the notion that aid-funded projects and programs must reflect the preferences, beliefs, values, and needs of the communities they intend to serve. Using all three readings assigned for Tuesday, please explain why aid projects that do not reflect local priorities often fail to meet their objectives.

Foreign Aid

Based on the readings, aid distribution to the Global South can be broadly framed into three categories: donor-recipient relation (bilateral), type of the recipient political/social system and level of poverty in the a given country. For sake of the argument, I choose Afghanistan because it is one of the major aid recipients and because I am familiar with the aid work in the country.

First, in terms of donor-recipient relationship, the flow of development and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is highly dependent on the Afghan government relation with the United States. Since 2001, the fluctuation in flow of development aid has been parallel with the level of U.S.-Afghan government’s proximity and understanding of each other’s bilateral political and economic goals. For example, when president Barack Obama announced the surge (increase of U.S. troops) in Afghanistan in 2009, the development assistance, primarily managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), saw an unprecedented increase. In addition to the increase in aid flow from the U.S., donors such as Department for International Development (DFID), European Union (EU) and others also poured more resources. Later in 2014, when the bilateral relation between the Afghan government and the US was strained, not only the amount of development aid declined directly from the USAID, but also resulted in significant decline of aid from other donors.

Second, the Afghan government’s institutional structure and the level of political will to maintain a democratic system of governance is very important to the flow of aid. Corruption and lack of transparency in the government institutions have resulted in termination of several grants throughout the years. The more the government has sought to increase its institutional transparency, fight corruption and uphold to the democratic notions such as freedom of speech and fair treatment of its citizens, the more aid has poured into the country.

Third, another reason that usually results in surge of aid and humanitarian assistance to the country is the call of civil society and media of a extreme situation both related to displaced population as a result of conflict and extreme poverty. These two situations have always seen a high respond from the donors, particularly, from the United Nations (UN) and other humanitarian agencies.

In terms of aid-effectiveness, Afghanistan has been the largest recipient of aid at least in the past 17 years from multiple donors both in terms of bilateral grants and humanitarian assistance. However, little has changed in the ground when it comes to poverty reduction, economic growth or capacity of the state, as a whole. Majority of development aid is implemented by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  The manner and usage of these funds are entirely decided by donor agencies. There are few instances where the aid is actually given in response to the needs expressed by the local population.

Furthermore, often similar projects are implemented simultaneously, by different donors, without knowledge of each other’s existence which results in aid redundancy. This is because countries that provide the funds, are directly engaged in their management and therefore, chose where to use them, instead of funds allocation  based on proper needs assessment.

Given the above problems, development of a donor pool  – an engagement body consisting of major donor’s representatives that supervise the flow and implementation of funds – is necessary to reduce redundancies on the ground, identify most needed sectoral areas and coordinate their relation with the local NGOs and the government of Afghanistan. Such integration will not only increase the effectiveness of the development assistance to the country, but will also reduce the impact of political decisions on the effectiveness and flow of aid.

Prep Exercise Prompt, 11/8/18…

So, imagine that you’re a young, up-and-coming development specialist, and you’re considering recommendations for a country in the Global South with respect to their use of foreign aid. Based on your readings for today and your general knowledge, what sort of aid is likely going to be available? Who will generally provide it, and why? Finally, what sort of aid do your recommend they accept, and why?

Prep Exercise for 11/1/2018…

The various characters described in Evan Osnos’s Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Fame in the New China represent the legacy of a massive social transformation and development begun in the late 1970s under the post-Mao leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Based on your reading here, what arguments, explanations, and theories from this course best account for what these people are experiencing in navigating China’s new economy?

Prep Exercise Prompt for 10/30/18…

In East Asia generally, state-led development seems to have worked much better than in the countries of Latin America and Africa.  What factors contributed to the success of state-led development in East Asia, and why were these countries seemingly able to overcome many of the drawbacks of state-led development discussed in earlier readings and class meetings?

Prep Exercise for 10/25/18…

In our readings for Thursday by Peter Griffiths and Yang Jisheng, we explore the causes of mass famines in the 20th century. One important argument emerging from famine research–voiced directly by Alex de Waal  on Tuesday and experientially by Yang–is that famines are best understood not as food supply problems, but as political ones.

What does it mean to say that famines are political? And what do our readings suggest might be the best approach to eliminating famines around the world?

Prep Exercise Prompt for 10/23/18…

In Peter Griffiths’ mostly true memoir of his time as an economist in Sierra Leone, one of the biggest difficulties he faces is in getting both the Sierra Leonean government and the international financial institutions to actually recognize that there’s a problem. For your exercise, please describe and analyze the political, economic, and practical barriers faced by  Griffiths in getting the government of Sierra Leone to abandon the World Bank’s plan to end the government’s role in rice importing.