Weekly Roundup

This week in development…

U.S. Development Policy/International Organizations

  • As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, access to sanitation and safe drinking water remains the ‘least improved’ A recent UN report found that 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation facilities, while 1.8 billion people use contaminated water sources.
A water kiosk in Chipata, Zambia providing clean and sanitary water.

A water kiosk in Chipata, Zambia providing clean and sanitary water.

  • United Nation’s Population Fund (UNPF) recently released a major report on the State of the World Population. The report focuses on the economic potential of the 1.8 billion ‘youth bulge’, referring to the large global youth population many of whom are unemployed. The report estimates Africa’s growth to boost by a third if the continent invests enough in the younger generation. PPD earlier this year launched the Global Youth Wellbeing Index highlighting policies needed to capitalize on these demographic changes.

  • On Monday, November 17th CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development held an event entitled, “Challenges and Opportunities of Urbanization”, which featured panelists from USAID, UN-Habitat, PwC, World Bank, and CHM2 Hill. Watch the recording here; event commentary to be released next week.

Asia-Pacific

  • The ADB signed a $300 million facility agreement in support of innovative rural wastewater infrastructure in China, an effort supporting one of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals for sanitation and water access. As noted above, the sanitation goal has seen the least progress from among all the MDGs.
  • Indonesia was formally recognized as the first ASEAN country to achieve compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) after joining the initiative in 2010. The Philippines and Myanmar are current candidates for EITI compliant countries; both countries have 18 months to generate their first report, which will determine their EITI status within three years.
  • India plans to increase coal production to serve its development needs, but Prime Minister Modi is attempting to promote the dual goals of coal production and renewables. However, India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, believes climate concerns cannot thwart the coal production desperately needed for development. India’s conflicted energy agenda unfolds in the background of China’s recent global climate agreement with the U.S. that aims to reduce carbon emissions.
  • At the G-20 Summit in Brisbane, China and Australia concluded their Free-Trade Agreement, despite Australia’s recent rebuff to join China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). China is Australia’s largest export market for both goods and services, accounting for nearly a third of total exports, and a growing source of foreign investment. 95% of Australian goods exports to China will be tariff-free. The FTA will complement trade deals with Korea and Japan which, together with China, are Australia’s three largest export markets and account for more than 61% of Australia’s exports.

Africa

  • AfDB’s 2014 Africa Tourism Monitor reports tourism employs 3% of the workforce in N. Africa and 2.4% in Sub-Saharan Africa and could add 3.8 million jobs in the next 10 years. A recent STR Global Construction Pipeline Report on the Middle East/Africa hotel region, reported 646 hotels are currently “under contract,” totaling 151,579 rooms. The data includes projects in construction, final planning and planning stages. Travel and tourism offer significant development benefits, including skills training, local employment, and additional national income. With the number of youth in Africa set to double by 2045, tourism has the potential to create much-needed stable jobs.
  • AidData released an interactive geospatial dashboard mapping China’s investments in Africa, featuring over 2,000 Chinese-backed development projects. The dashboard promises to leverage local information and crowdsourcing to comment on specific projects, offer multimedia to validate specific projects, and suggest a project in locations not currently covered. AidData hopes to help citizens, journalists, policymakers, and development practitioners more closely track China’s role in Africa.
  • Reports found that the international Ebola response is not coordinated in Sierra Leone, where the situation remains dire. While dozens of beds lie empty in the capital, Freetown, many people in other cities and areas die waiting for space in a treatment center. Part of the problem is clinics with 80-person capacity will only admit 5 patients at a time, in order to stem spread of infection and to protect health workers.

Latin America

  • The Inter-American Development Bank recently published its latest report on trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report’s recommendations focus on increasing and diversifying the region’s exports, and streamlining bilateral agreements to boost the current average growth rate, estimated at only 1% for FY2014.
  • The EU will allocate around $1.15 billion over the next seven years through its regional cooperation package for Latin America, known as the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP). MIPs represent a central part of the programming of EU aid under the Development Cooperation Instrument, which is part of the EU budget.
  • Two Brazilian executives admitted to involvement in a corruption scandal at the country’s semi-public oil company, Petrobras. An executive vice-president of Mendes Junior and a director of engineering and infrastructure of Galvão Engenharia admitted to paying bribes to Petrobras and a money launderer in order to win contracts. The former Petrobras director and dozens of high ranking executives from some of the biggest engineering and construction companies were arrested last week. Police claim that bribes were paid off to political parties, including the Workers’ Party of recently re-elected President Dilma Rousseff.

Europe

  • Likely the world’s largest public-private partnership in life sciences, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a multibillion-euro fund, announced a $346.65 million call for project proposals to combat Ebola. This is a significant move by IMI, which receives most funding from private pharmaceuticals and EU countries, because it was founded in 2008 to combat European health problems, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
  • The UK Government announced that it has pledged up to $1.14 billion to a UN fund to help poor nations cope with global warming. Britain’s contribution is equivalent to around 12 percent of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which currently totals $9.3 billion.

Photo used under a creative commons license courtesy of Rahul Ingle (GIZ)

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