What We’re Reading 5/20/09

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Huffington Post: “Game-Changing Pick” Under Consideration to Head New Foreign Assistance Effort
Dr. Paul Farmer is under consideration by the Obama Administration to head a newly overhauled foreign assistance program, according to sources close to Farmer. He will be meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week to discuss the post. Sources close to Farmer also confirm he is in discussion to lead a wholly revised U.S. international assistance strategy, with portfolio over all non-military U.S. foreign assistance, including but not limited to the programs funded by USAID, PEPFAR, the MCA, humanitarian assistance, emergency assistance and potentially food aid. This would be a wholly new position with far broader purview than the current USAID Administrator’s portfolio.

Reuters: INTERVIEW-U.N. hopes to tap new sources of money for aid
The United Nations is trying to harness donations from individuals for its aid programmes that stand to attract less government money because of the economic downturn. Philippe Douste-Blazy, an adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on development financing, said that new campaigns would seek to draw donations on the Internet, through credit card use, and with voluntary surcharges on travel.

BBC: IMF push for more help for Africa (BBC)
The IMF has warned that Africa’s economic growth will plummet because of the world economic downturn. It predicts that growth in sub-Saharan Africa will slow to 1.5% in 2009, below the rate of population growth. In March, the IMF was predicting growth of 3.25% but the slump in commodity prices and the credit squeeze were the main factors for the revision. The IMF said Africa would need more concessional aid to ride out the slump.

VOA News: AIDS Activists Criticize Obama Budget for HIV
Additional reporting on AIDS activists reactions to Obama’s budget.

Reuters: World Bank funds bypassing Zimbabwe government
The World Bank official said on Wednesday that grant funding to Zimbabwe was not going through the government, which has yet to demonstrate to the international community it can manage the economy with prudence and transparency. World Bank Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili said $22 million in grants from the Bank were being spent on behalf of donors through international agencies, aid and church groups to help small farmers and the poor.

-Chandler Smith

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