Across the month of November (or December, yes this entry is very late I watched two live videos, one of a two day conference, and one of a short panel consisting of two prominent world “stars”. More specifically, they were the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)’s Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE) 2012 (CAPE 2012) conference and the World Bank Group’s “Dialogue [to] end [poverty] live web cast (All the videos for the CAPE 2012 conference can be found on the ODI’s Youtube page, although the sound quality is average.)
Anyway, the CAPE 2012 conference centred on the changing development landscape, particularly that of foreign aid, or its official name, Official Development Assistance (ODA). In fact, it targetted ODA issues and development issues relating to today’s context and the future. This included mentions on what IDA (Replenishment Round) 17, financing development beyond ODA, rising/new actors (speakers from China and Latin America for example), South-South cooperation, fragile states, aid to middle income countries and a whole host of issues. (See the conference agenda and the exact participatant list. In summary, a really relevant and content filled event for any researcher on development or even IPE.
Versus the World Bank talk. Two lone figures, Jim Yong Kim and the so-called rock star Bono. The topic: Responding to the World Bank request for post cards on how to end poverty. But really, the tlak was about slapping each other on the back and praising each other: Kim praising Bono on campaigning and Bono complimenting the Korean-American on the World Bank’s results (which weren’t Kim’s work at all). Then some definitions on poverty and poverty reduction. Bono and Kim’s best way to tackle poverty: Open Data. Oh please. It’s nice to release data, lots of people like Owen Barder have pushed for it, but that’s not how to end poverty. Poverty is not reduced when just data. They also just talked broadly on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). That’s find, but those are global broad targets, nothing about today’s and tomorrow’s development, as what CAPE ODI was discussing. Bono was talking all about campaigning for increased ODA. That was in stark contrast to the CAPE event, where even the World Bank Managing Director noted that ODA was not the main finance mechanism any more.
The bottom line: You have this new President of the World Bank rubbing shoulders with a rock star who has a narrow view and understanding of development. Whereas you have a two day event by a renown think tank that looked at development, ODA and poverty reduction through a pragmatic lens.