Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Africa’s Uganda is facing a reduction in foreign aid, the European Commission announces initial humanitarian aid for 2024 and 1.4 billion children globally miss out on basic social protection. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

Africa’s Uganda reports shrinking foreign aid, healthcare to be badly hit

Over the past two decades, Uganda has been among the top recipients of foreign aid in the world, with experts putting this at 6 – 8% of the country’s gross national income. According to statistics from the World Bank, the total amount of foreign aid received by Uganda between 1960 and 2021 amounted to approximately US$190 billion.

The funds, most of which came from the USA, the UK, and the World Bank, were primarily directed towards healthcare, education, infrastructure development, agriculture, and poverty alleviation initiatives.

However, documents made public by Uganda’s Finance Ministry show that the country’s overall donor contributions are expected to fall from Shs 2.781 trillion in 2023–2024 to barely Shs 28.94 billion in the ensuing budget for 2024–2025.

Uganda’s healthcare will be among the worst-hit beneficiaries of aid with the Health Ministry predicting a decrease of 49% in foreign aid for the sector. With a budget of Shs. 4 trillion, foreign funding accounts for the lion’s share of Uganda’s healthcare spending.

This decrease is increasingly more alarming as Uganda has long been struggling to reduce the disease-caused death rate. Currently, the 47-million-people country reports that over 50% of deaths are caused by communicable diseases, particularly malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

The Commission announces initial humanitarian aid of €1.8 billion for 2024

With almost 300 million people estimated to need humanitarian assistance in 2024, the EU once again reinforces its commitment to support the most vulnerable globally. The Commission has therefore adopted its initial annual humanitarian budget of more than €1.8 billion for this year.

The European Commission humanitarian aid in 2024 will be allocated as follows:

  • Almost €200 million will address the consequences of forced displacements, food insecurity, acute and chronic malnutrition, natural hazards, and recurrent epidemics in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), the Central African Republic and the Lake Chad basin (Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria), which are fuelled by conflict, insecurity and climate change.
  • Around €346 million will support those in East and Southern Africa affected by long-term conflict in the Great Lakes Region and those displaced by extreme weather events and armed conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique and the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia).
  • Almost €470 million of EU humanitarian funding will be allocated in the Middle East and North Africa regarding the extreme humanitarian needs in Gaza and the Palestinian civilian population as well as the ongoing regional crisis in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and its neighboring countries.
  • Around €115 million will be directed to Southeast Europe and the European Neighbourhood addressing mostly the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, as well as funding projects for ongoing needs in the Western Balkans, the Caucasus, and the effects of the Syria crisis in Türkiye as well as the lasting consequences from last year’s earthquakes.
  • €186 million in humanitarian assistance will help the most vulnerable populations in South Asia and the Pacific, targeting mainly the humanitarian response in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, while also addressing the impact of climate change in the region.
  • €111.6 million will be allocated to Central and South America and the Caribbean, where we will continue supporting the response to the impact of the crisis in Venezuela, the humanitarian consequences of the armed conflicts in Colombia, a multi-layered crisis in Haiti, as well as pervasive violence in Central America, Mexico, and Ecuador. In addition to this, the region is exposed to frequent natural hazards.
  • Around €315 million are reserved for responding to sudden-onset emergencies and unforeseen humanitarian crises that may arise throughout the year.
  • More than €98 million will be committed to horizontal activities, innovative projects, and policy initiatives, for example, the multi-year programmatic partnerships, and the enhanced response capacity.

1.4 billion children globally missing out on basic social protection, according to latest data

Globally, 1.4 billion children aged 0-15 lack any form of social protection, leaving them vulnerable to disease, poor nutrition, and poverty, according to new data released by the International Labour Organization (ILO)Save the Children and UNICEF.

In low-income countries, less than one in ten children in this age group have access to child benefits, highlighting a significant disparity compared to the coverage enjoyed by children in high-income countries.

Child benefits are a critical form of social protection, intended to promote the long-term well-being of children. Paid in cash or tax credits, child benefits are essential for reducing poverty, as well as accessing healthcare, nutrition, quality education, and water and sanitation. Additionally, these benefits support socio-economic development, particularly in times of crisis.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Top 10 largest oil producing countries in the world today

Oil is a priceless natural resource that powers economies and influences geopolitics around the world. As the global demand for energy grows, oil extraction and shipping are crucial to the security and development of virtually every nation in the world today.

Read the full article.

Leveraging business data for better decision making

In today’s constantly changing world, organizations working in the field of sustainable development are playing an ever more important role. Whether it is the construction of massive infrastructure projects or delivering educational services for communities in need, development organizations are at the forefront of positive change. But many of them have fallen behind the times when it comes to using data and leveraging statistics in order to make better decisions.

Read the full article.

Corruption and its impact on foreign aid effectiveness

Often defined as a general characteristic of a social, political, judicial, or economic system, corruption is nevertheless a complex behavioral trait of individuals who are endowed with power or authority. When the phenomenon becomes part of institutions, it causes them to underperform and limits their capacity to implement beneficial policies. Being widely spread in unstable, conflict-ridden environments and weaker democracies, corruption has an effect on the aid programs that are implemented in these nations. From instigating moral hazard to hampering long-term development, corruption can become a serious obstacle to development.

Read the full article.

Working with the EBRD. Tips for junior development professionals | Experts’ Opinions

Starting a career at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can be competitive as it is a prestigious multilateral developmental investment bank. With staff from dozens of countries, the institution’s workforce is as diverse as its portfolio. Whether you are a banker, analyst, economist, IT specialist or researcher, there are a number of opportunities to support the EBRD in its mission. For more in-depth and valuable insights provided by current or former EBRD employees, read this article.

Key Takeaways:

  • The EBRD was established to help to build a new, post-Cold War era in Central and Eastern Europe and has since invested more than €180 billion in over 6,800 projects.
  • According to former employees and consultants, to start a career with EBRD, candidates should have academic qualifications in the relevant fields, a mix of general and specific professional experience, proficiency in software tools, and advanced language skills.
  • Effective interview preparation involves researching the EBRD’s mission and strategy and becoming familiar with the selection process, including potential assessments and tests.

Read the full article.

Here’s what else has happened

WFP: Amid sustained attacks on civilians by armed groups, increasing displacement, and civil unrest in Haiti, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is calling for unimpeded access for aid agencies and the free flow of food commodities to prevent already-dire levels of hunger from becoming catastrophic.

Ukraine: Two years since the Russia-Ukraine international armed conflict escalated, the human cost is insurmountable, with no end in sight. Not only have many lost their loved ones, homes, livelihoods, and savings, but millions of Ukrainians are struggling under increasing debt. Some people have been able to start over, but others see their needs only increasing at a time when humanitarian and government programmes are narrowing or ending altogether.

World Bank Group: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed an adjusted approach to support the people of Afghanistan. “Approach 3.0” will deploy funds from the International Development Association (IDA) through grants to United Nations agencies and other public international organizations.

Ecuador and Haiti: After Ecuador and Haiti were identified as part of the 20 countries most at risk of intensifying humanitarian crises, according to the 2024 Emergency Watchlist, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned during a virtual briefing that their effects will be felt across the Latin America and Caribbean region.

WHO: In a Rapid Communication issued, the World Health Organization (WHO) is announcing several updates to its forthcoming 2nd edition of the guidance on the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) infection, or TB preventive treatment (TPT).


New UN report: Along with gender, where people live is a key factor in determining levels of poverty and inequality in Asia and the Pacific

Progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains uneven and inadequate across various segments of the population and within the five subregions of Asia and the Pacific. According to a new report published by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), gender and location remain key factors in determining levels of poverty and inequality in the region.

Renewed efforts are needed to open markets as barriers to services trade remained high in 2023

The supply of services through commercial presence and digital trade faced new barriers in 2023, as global services providers were confronted by fragmented regulatory environments, according to an annual analysis from the OECD.

The overall number of services trade liberalization reforms enacted in 2023 was below the previous year, but the aggregate impact of liberalizing policies nonetheless moderately outweighed the introduction of new restrictions.

New liberalization efforts in 2023 contributed to easing regulatory hurdles in some countries, notably as regards infrastructure-related services, such as construction, architecture, and engineering services. These positive developments were offset, however, by a range of new barriers across several countries, including those related to the screening of foreign direct investment affecting services sectors such as computer services, telecommunications, transport, and commercial banking. Similarly, rules on cross-border data flows, digital trade, and market entry for foreign e-commerce platforms were tightened, adding to the challenges faced by global service providers, according to the OECD.

OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index: Policy trends up to 2024 show a slowdown in the adoption of new regulations affecting services trade between 2022-23, compared to changes observed in 2021-22, across the 22 major sectors covered.

Landmark UN report: The world’s migratory species of animals are in decline, and the global extinction risk is increasing

The first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report was launched by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a UN biodiversity treaty, at the opening of a major UN wildlife conservation conference (CMS COP14).


How to Submit a Competitive Proposal When You’re New to the Market | Webinar

DevelopmentAid, in collaboration with Trust Consultancy and Development, invites you to attend the webinar on “How to Submit a Competitive Proposal When You’re New to the Market” which will take place on 20 February 2024 at 3 pm (Brussels)/9 am (Washington DC).

Key takeaways

  • Understanding the dynamics of submitting competitive proposals as a newcomer.
  • Insights into the proposal development process and strategies for success.
  • Overcoming challenges and leveraging strengths when entering a new market.
  • Tips to craft compelling proposals that stand out to international NGOs and donors.


Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024

📅 21 – 23 February 2024
Nairobi, Kenya

The annual meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will take place from 21 to 23 February 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya on the margins of the Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6).

The Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024 will bring together CCAC Partner representatives to discuss the latest science and policy, share best practices, and develop a shared agenda in key emitting sectors like agriculture, waste, fossil fuels, household energy, heavy-duty vehicles and engines, and cooling.