Monthly Archives: April 2014

Another conference on aid effectiveness !

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The Mexico City conference at a cost of many millions of dollars focused on how the private sector can be brought into the aid process – nothing new about this of course – it has been going on for many years. Still, I am trying to remember why the private sector in general might be interested in a process that reduces its return on investment  (forgetting Bill Gates and the philanthropists who are non-Government rather than private). Or perhaps it has found a mechanism through aid to increase its return on investment?  Either way seems problematic – so is this fundamentally a viable or value-adding partnership?  How far could this really be about seeking ways to increase growth in poor countries (which as everyone knows has been only weakly if at all connected with aid) and how far is it really just part of the ongoing effort to re-assert the relevance of the enormous official and non-official aid establishment, while also giving large private firms another way to market their products?  These are of course seriously existential questions – not relevant nor convenient to this moment or other ‘moments’. The problem is that these existential questions tend to rear their heads rather often and the future of aid needs to be (seriously) addressed by people outside the establishment whose personal livelihoods will not be affected by serious decisions about reorganizing it or even seriously cutting it back to something that really adds value.