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Are Private Actors Revolutionizing Foreign Aid?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Foundations are stepping up their engagement in Sub-Sahara Africa. But will that fundamentally alter the dynamics on the ground?

When Warren Buffett donated $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a few years ago, many observers heralded the arrival of a new age of private philanthropy in the Carnegie and Rockefeller tradition. Particular attention has been paid in recent years to the growing engagement of philanthropic foundations in international development, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Enthusiasts have pointed out that foundations offer a new and significant source of financing for development, with the potential to outstrip official development assistance. Others have suggested that foundations can fundamentally change international development through their more flexible and innovative approaches and superior management style. ...

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