March 03, 2017
Activities /
Posted by NCID

Foto: Manuel Castells. “Does it make any sense for a country to invest in the institutions of another country who does not share a similar political agenda? Geopolitical interests shape decisions when investing on development projects.” These were the words of Olivier Lafourcade, former World Bank official, during his seminar at the Navarra Center for International Developmet (NCID).

He illustrated this claim by showing the changes that the European Union agenda experienced when the Development Commissioner was a Spaniard. Moreover, the former official highlighted the “geopolitical limits and constraints” of the traditional development system, structured along a series of international organization, private fortunes and governments.

Lafourcade highlighted the differences that exist between private development investors, such as philanthropic foundations, and organizations, such as the World Bank. While the former have a flexibility that the latter do not, he was critical with the “lack of control” on their investment decisions: “they can invest and decide to stop that investment without any external supervision, causing unexpected consequences on the aid recipient”.

Comparing both, he stated that “although people often believe that decisions taken at institutions such as the World Bank are authoritarian and impulsive, they are always taken in a systematic way and with the consensus of the representatives from the different states”.

 

Innovation through the efficient management of resources

Regarding the topic of his conference at NCID, Olivier Lafourcade emphasized that “innovative development aid financing requires an improvement in the way we manage resources”. He insisted in the importance of improving the efficiency of traditional development agents, such as multilateral and bilateral institutions, European organizations, specialized and private funds, and NGOs.

“The biggest share of development finance mechanism today is the money that immigrants send back to their families at home”. He reminded that only 10% of development aid comes from multilateral organization loans, while emphasizing the importance of mobilizing the money from SMEs, big enterprises and other international players to contribute to the cause. On the other hand, he lamented that many countries in the UN do not allocate the 0,7% of their GDP to development aid, as established in the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development at Monterrey.

Lafourcade noted that the only concern for development was not the amount of available money, but rather how wisely it was spent. He exposed the importance of evaluating the impact of the aid and the need to measure the efficiency of each of the development actors.

Apart from the conference he gave for the Navarra Center for International Development (NCID) at the Instituto Cultura y Sociedad of the University of Navarra, he also gave a seminar to the students of the Economics, Leadership & Governance Program of the School of Economics and Business.

 

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