2015 – the year of 3 key conferences

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

There are 3 UN conference this year; two of these you know all about:

  1. the September meeting to agree the SDGs and
  2. the December meeting to try to sort out what to do about climate change.

The first is likely to be an easier ride than the second, though given the bloated nature of what's on the table, it might not be too successful in the long run.  We shall see.

The third conference was held last week in Addis Ababa, and focused on what is the best balance for an economically developing country between taxes, borrowing, and aid.

The Economist discussed these issues last week in a leader: Beyond Aid which shows you where it stands.  It notes:

"Aid has its uses.  But it makes countries less accountable for spending decisions and, in the long run, undermines good governance."

Whether you think aid is just a moral duty, something sadly necessary whilst countries get on their feet, a waste of money because of corruption, or just another lingering colonial toe-hold that should be cut away, there is much in this article to think about – if you in the business of thinking.  The Economist piece ends:

"Developing countries’ biggest financing need is for infrastructure.  But the match between their huge unmet demand and sources of private capital needs to be improved.  To encourage a bigger market for infrastructure bonds, governments at Addis should urge development banks (such as the World Bank) to offer a wider, more standardised menu of credit guarantees.  Western agencies also ought to develop new financing mechanisms to help municipalities in emerging markets tap capital markets.  Given the rate of urbanisation in Africa and Asia, the difference between good and bad development will be largely determined by cities.  If the Addis conference can shift the spotlight away from aid and on to these questions, it will be a Cinderella that outshines its Ugly Sisters in Paris and New York."

According to the UN, the event was a success, as all such UN fests tend to be.  You can see the detail here.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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