The changing international aid architecture, particularly the rise of nontraditional donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presents implications and creates opportunities for Australia as it moves to expand its aid program, according to an economic and financial expert focused on maternal and child health.
“The Australian government’s aid program is scaling up, with the intention of reaching 0.5 percent [of the country’s gross national income] by 2015-16,” Ian Anderson, a consultant and research associate at the Australia-based Development Policy Center, says in a blog post. “In identifying strategies for scale up, AusAID could collaborate, complement, compete with or copy the [Gates Foundation] approach, depending upon the circumstances.”
In a discussion paper published by the Development Policy Center, Anderson outlines possible areas of collaboration and competition between the Australian Agency for International Development and the Gates Foundation as well as ways AusAID can complement and copy the U.S.-based foundation.
But the most strategic implication that the rise of the Gates Foundation and similar organizations has for AusAID is the competition they introduced to the international aid architecture, Anderson says.
He explains that the Gates Foundation, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and other similar organizations are alternative options where Australia can inject its money into.
“Just the availability of those new options therefore gives Australia enhanced, credible, negotiating coin in its replenishment negotiations with the multilaterals and the U.N.,” Anderson says. “If they don’t pursue their reform agendas as purposefully as they claim they will, some of the additional ‘new’ money from Australia’s scale up will go to the new, non – traditional agencies.”
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