Photo of Kigali, Rwanda by Flickr user oledoe under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
By Francis Jung
According to the World Bank, the IMF and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Rwanda is doing exceptionally well at attaining the development goals outlined in its Vision 2020, despite the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Burundi, on the other hand, is not doing so well; especially since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement to run for a third term in April of 2015. Why is Rwanda doing so well, while Burundi is doing so poorly when it comes to achieving human development goals?
At face value, the question seems broad and mundane to which any number of people in the development community could provide a separate answer, half of which would start out with, “that depends;” but a deeper analysis of their similarities suggest that it would be reasonable to draw from the two something specific that explains why one country has driven down poverty and infant mortality while maintaining stable growth rates and the other is all but re-immersed back into conflict.
This article establishes that the reason Rwanda is doing so well is mainly due to two factors: first, the consolidation of power, the exclusion of opposing parties and the establishment of a single-party state early on its post-conflict development and second, Rwanda’s focus on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals; and Burundi is doing so poorly because the government is vulnerable to power seeking, would-be political entrepreneurs.
By Amy Chang
This July, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government approved the use of the Swiss Challenge Model (SCM) as part of an effort to increase private sector investment for the renovation of 400 railways across the country. SCM is a form of public procurement in which the government publicizes unsolicited bids for projects and invites third party actors to match or exceed them. Later in October, the SCM was also adopted to develop the Andaman and Nicobar Islands—a cluster of islands due east of India in the Bay of Bengal.
The decision to adopt the SCM comes against the backdrop of a sharp plunge in private sector investment for infrastructure projects in India, and the government hopes it will help cut red tape and increase efficiency by allowing local companies and investors to craft proposals in line with their capabilities and needs. There are, however, serious concerns regarding the level of accountability that the SCM process requires, particularly when dealing with projects where public authorities have limited knowledge and experience.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands remain largely untouched by the outside world.
The World Bank estimates that India needs $1.7 trillion to fund its infrastructure gap by 2020, but current levels of funding are insufficient to cover that cost: Private investment in infrastructure fell from $23.8 billion in 2012 to $3.6 billion last year. Under the SCM, companies present an unsolicited proposal to the government, and then the project is opened to other third-party bidders. The original proposer then has the right to counter-match any final offer. The SCM invites private investors to formulate their own projects, while still encouraging competition through an open bidding process. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Melampy
Iraq’s Higher Committee for Education Development (HCED), established in 2009, provides scholarships for promising students to study at foreign universities, mainly in the US. In 2015 alone, HCED has a budget of $125 million. This program is a long-term investment in improving Iraq’s public sector efficiency and stability; educating the brightest students abroad in the best universities, where they can benefit from new perspectives and better education, will pay off when the students return to Iraq’s public sector. Thus, ensuring that students return home and enter public service is key to the success of this investment. Convincing these students to return home, however, can prove challenging when employment prospects in Iraq seem limited.
There are many critiques of this type of program, especially in a fragile, post-conflict context like Iraq, where $125 million could certainly help fix more immediate domestic issues. For example, critics argue that the health sector in Iraq is in a dire need of money, and rerouting the HCED budget to the health sector could save lives. Why, then, is Iraq investing in this education program?
Many countries are investing in sending students abroad as a means of securing their national future.
Iraq is not alone in sending its best students to foreign universities. Many developing countries have similar programs to educate students abroad with the expectation that they will return to work in the public sector. Countless world leaders have been educated in the U.S., and this trend of sending students abroad to developed countries to study is only growing. Continue reading
Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank Group. Photo taken from the OECD Development Centre’s flickr photostream used under a creative commons license.
By Daniel Runde
Last week I was in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (currently and thankfully “Ebola free”) and had the opportunity to spend time with the board and the senior management of the African Development Bank. The bank was founded by 23 African countries in 1964, and today has authorized capital in excess of $43.5 billion. The United States joined in 1983, and is the bank’s largest non-regional shareholder. Over the next ten years the AfDB will face unique opportunities as well as unprecedented challenges to relevance. The new President slated for selection in 2015 should be chosen with these challenges and opportunities in mind.
Donald Kaberuka, a former Rwandan finance minister, has led the ADB since 2005. Mr. Kaberuka oversaw Rwanda’s post-conflict economic recovery, and is well-regarded in both Washington and Africa. At the time of his selection, he was seen as the choice of the African “francophone” countries (French is one of AfDB’s two official languages) despite the fact that Rwanda’s official language is now English. His tenure is limited to two five-year terms, the second of which will conclude in May 2015.
As President of the AfDB, Mr. Kaberuka pushed the bank to approve a ten-year strategy focused encouraging private sector activity to absorb the 15 million young people that join the work force every year in Africa and programs that address the nexus of food, water and energy. To achieve these goals, his board approved an operational orientation that targeted:
- Infrastructure Development
- Regional Integration
- Policy to Support and Enable Private Enterprise
- Improved Governance
- Skills and Technology Acquisition
This week in development…
- USAID has announced that they will tap into an emergency trust fund – one that has not been touched since the global food price spike and crisis in 2008 – to respond to the extreme food insecurity in South Sudan. “The scale of the suffering and humanitarian need there is shocking, and the threat of famine is real,” said National Security Advisor Susan Rice in a statement profiling the $180 million that will be drawn from the fund. The account being drawn upon is specifically allocated to Food for Peace programming, and intended to meet emergency or unanticipated food aid needs.
- August 18 is the 500 day milestone until the target date to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The questions of “were the MDGs successful?” and “where do we go from here?” have begun to dictate the discussions and work of the development community, as attention shifts towards the post-2015 development agenda. Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the acclaimed street photography blog Humans of New York, has partnered with the UN to take a 50-day “World Tour” to raise awareness of the MDGs and informally track their progress.