In a recent study done by a charity, ActionAid, almost half of all money invested in developing countries is channeled through tax havens and deprives the world’s poorest of billions of dollars. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that the money lost to developing countries due to tax havens is almost three times more than what they receive in aid every year.

In the UK, companies such as Google and Amazon have recently proved troublesome in tax avoidance and the result is staggering to poor countries that are ill equipped to handle the repercussions. ActionAid reported that one single transaction through UK-linked tax havens would have provided India with USD 2.2 billion in tax. This sum could potentially provide every Indian primary school child with a subsidized lunch meal for an entire year.

Other countries are effected in similar ways. A major mining company reports that 84% of its revenue comes from Africa but it only has four of its 81 subsidiaries registered in African countries. “Tax havens are one of the main obstacles in the fight against global poverty,” says Mike Lewis, ActionAid’s tax expert. The secrecy of these tax havens deprive developing countries of the important resources needed to provide life saving technologies and necessities such as hospitals, schools and clean water.

Currently, the UK is responsible for one in five global tax havens which proves to be more than any other country. Furthermore, G8 countries are collectively responsible for 40% of tax havens worldwide. A G8 Summit in June, will give world leaders a historic opportunity to address the problem of these tax havens that cheat the countries that need the money the most.

– Kira Maixner
Source Daily Express

US AID First Forward Progress Report
The U.S. Agency for International Development released a progress report on its signature reform initiative USAID Forward at an event co-hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Three years ago, President Obama and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton called for the elevation of development as a key part of America’s national security and foreign policy.

Some highlights that need us to focus are listed as follows:

USAID Forward, the mission with renewed capacity, is focused on seven key
 areas: budget management, policy capacity, implementation and procurement reform, monitoring and evaluation, innovation, science and technology, and talent management.

Delivering results on a meaningful scale through a strengthened USAID:
by our missions in close collaboration with partner governments and citizens, our Country Development Cooperation Strategies now guide our development investments. When evaluations failed to meet the standard, the three most common concerns were: (1) evaluation teams received too many questions—especially questions that are too general and ill-defined—relative to the resources available for the evaluation, (2) the data collection and analysis methods were not appropriate to answer the evaluation questions, or (3) evaluation reports did not clearly demonstrate how evidence led to new findings and conclusions. Given these findings, we need to increasingly focus on taking early action to improve the quality of our evaluations.

Promoting sustainable development through high-impact partnerships:
USAID set out to employ the central pillars of aid effectiveness—county ownership, systems strengthening and sustainability—derived from global meetings in Paris, Accra and Busan. Putting these tenets into practice required us to take a hard look at our own systems and our capacity to work with a broader community of diverse partners while holding them accountable for delivering results. Going forward, we will build on the commitment
 to increase direct support to partner country governments, local private sector firms and non- governmental organizations. We will integrate this work more closely into our strategic planning process with the goal of institutionalizing it still further.

Identifying and scaling up innovative, breakthrough solutions to intractable development challenges:
In November 2012, the Higher Education Solutions Network, a groundbreaking partnership with seven top American and foreign universities designed to engage young people in the discovery of new solutions to development challenges, was launched. Each of the seven universities—The College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, Michigan State University, University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Makerere University in Uganda—will establish a development laboratory to incubate and scale up new innovations. The large-scale transformation of a federal agency is a long-term and complex endeavor. The transformation will be successful if it not only changes the way we do business but also results in improved results and continued development progress. USAID is committed to continuing our forward progress and calls on all of our partners to join us in our collective efforts to end extreme poverty.

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source: USAID
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