Increasing aid flows to low-income countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals is high on the policy agenda. The World Economic and Social Survey 2005 highlighted that aid flows have characteristics similar to private capital flows – selectivity, volatility, herding and surges. These characteristics of aid flows have costs that can be detrimental for public debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability affecting long-term prospects of recipient countries. The experience of some of the HIPC countries serve to underscore that increases in aid can be accompanied, under some circumstances, by macroeconomic costs in managing these flows, so that the success of policy objectives can be greatly reduced. This panel discussion sought to review these problems and open up the public debate on the policy response needed at both the domestic and international levels to ensure stable aid flows and their effective utilization.
3:00 – 3:05 p.m. Opening remarks by the Chair
- H. E. Ms. Tiina Intelmann (Estonia)
Chairperson of the Second Committee
3:05 – 3:10 p.m. Introductory statement by the Moderator
- Mr. Oscar de Rojas
Director, Financing for Development Office, DESA
3:10 – 3:25 p.m. Introductory remarks by the Lead Discussant
- Ms. Benu Schneider
Chief of Debt, Finance and Systemic Issues Unit Financing for Development Office, DESA
3:25 – 4:15 p.m. Presentations
- Mr. Louis Kasekende
Chief Economist African Development Bank
- Mr. Elliot Harris
Advisor Policy Development and Review Department International Monetary Fund
- Ms. Nora Lustig
Director, Poverty Group Bureau of Development Policy, UNDP
4:15 – 4:50 p.m. Interactive discussion
4:50 – 5:00 p.m. Concluding remarks
Ms. Benu Schneider is currently Chief of Debt, Finance and Systemic Issues Unit in the Financing for Development Office in DESA. Her previous positions include: the Globalization and Development Strategies Division at UNCTAD where she assisted countries in preparing for Paris Club negotiations on debt restructuring; Overseas Development Institute where she conducted policy oriented work on a range of issues, including capital account liberalization and international standards and codes, and providing technical assistance; and Reserve Bank of India where she was a full time consultant providing policy advice. She holds a doctorate from the University of Kiel, Germany, and is the author of several books and papers on international finance. She has combined academic and consultancy work with hands on policy advice on macroeconomic policies and domestic financial sector reforms. She has authored an influential policy paper for the Narasimham Committee of Banking Reforms in India.
Mr. Louis Kasekende is Chief Economist at the African Development Bank since 1 May 2006. In this position, his main function is to oversee knowledge generation and dissemination to the benefit of Regional Member Countries and to enhance the visibility of the Bank in International Development Debates. He has earlier served as the Deputy Governor at the Bank of Uganda, a position assumed in May 1999. In September 2002, he was seconded to the World Bank to take the position of Executive Director for the Africa Group 1 constituency for a period of twenty six months. In his career spanning over twenty years, he has taught at Makerere University for a period of six years and has published in journals and chapters in books on a wide range of economic subjects.
Mr. Elliot Harris is a citizen of Trinidad, was educated at the universities of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Marburg and Kiel in Germany. He joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the Economist Program (EP) in 1988, and has worked extensively on African countries, including leading the negotiations of programs supported by the Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility in three countries. He has also worked on public expenditure policy issues and on transition economies in the Fiscal Affairs Department. Since July 2002, Mr. Harris is an Advisor in the Policy Development and Review Department, working on the poverty reduction strategy approach; donor harmonization and alignment and aid architecture issues; the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and the Strategic Partnership with Africa (SPA).
Ms. Nora Lustig is Director of the Poverty Group in the Bureau of Development Policy at UNDP since 1 April 2006. Before joining UNDP, Ms. Lustig was the Director of the Center for Studies on Globalization and Development at the Tecnológico de Monterrey; President of the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla; Senior Advisor and Chief of the Poverty and Inequality Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank; and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Between 1975 and 1988, she was Professor of Economics at El Colegio de México; Visiting Fellow at MIT; and Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. She has published extensively in the fields of economic development and determinants of poverty and inequality, and is a member of a number of editorial and advisory boards. She was a founding member and President of LACEA (Latin American and Caribbean Economics Association). Ms. Lustig obtained her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.