From the Coronavirus’s arrival in Subsaharan Africa to the backlash against the rules governing the World Bank’s Pandemic Bonds

The first case of the coronavirus in Subsaharan Africa has been found in Nigeria leading World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, to warn that the ‘window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing.’

Related: Will vaccines reach low-income countries during a global pandemic?


Health experts are warning that weak health systems in South and Southeast Asia could easily be overwhelmed or even collapse under the strain of the coronavirus outbreak.

Related: MSF ramps up coronavirus response with ‘back-to-basics’ approach


The World Bank is facing criticism over the rules governing the payout of its pandemic emergency financing bonds, which were launched in 2017 following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The bonds can only be released after a certain amount of time and in accordance with complex criteria including outbreak size, growth rate, deadlines and death tolls, something critics say means ‘the bonds only get triggered when the disease has spread for a long time’.

Related: IMF, World Bank consider ‘virtual’ Spring Meetings as virus spreads


UK development experts fear the UK government’s just launched review of its foreign, defense, security, and development policy, the largest review of UK’s outward-facing policies since the end of the Cold War, will see the UK’s development aid budget either reduced or repurposed to serve UK interests at the expense of development objectives.

Related: What is ‘mutual prosperity’ and what does it mean for UK aid?


The European Investment Bank (EIB) has joined the Sahel Alliance, an international initiative to strengthen support for challenges faced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

Related: EIB confirms €3 billion of new investment across Africa in 2019


NGOs are pushing French officials to allocate more funding for least developed countries and to avoid linking development spending to migration as the French government’s new development legislation makes its way through parliament this year. The new bill will replace an existing development law from 2014 and plots how the government will raise French aid to 0.55% of gross national income by 2022 (compared to 0.38% in 2016 and 0.43% in 2018).

Related: What do strategies from 2019 tell us about donors’ priorities?


The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor says UN and international relief organizations are struggling for survival because of the lack of funding to implement humanitarian programs and donors’ failure to fulfil their financial pledges, leaving the services  these organizations provide to the most vulnerable will be greatly reduced, something that will only exacerbate humanitarian crises in disaster, conflict and war-torn zones around the world.

Related: Opinion: The hidden cost of cuts — how slashing foreign aid is wasteful and ineffective


Devex looks at the main obstacles blocking wider uptake of blended finance.

Related: Opinion: Time to rethink development finance in fragile states


Benjamin Soskis of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy has criticised Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for failing to provide any substantive details on how the newly announced USD $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund will spend its funds or operate day-to-day.

Related: With a $10 Billion Fund, Jeff Bezos Can Control the Planet’s Future


While Jeff Bezos’s commitment of USD $10 billion to fight climate change has been broadly well-received, David Wallace-Wells, author of ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’, notes that, given the most optimist estimate of the cost of decarbonising the planet’s energy systems is USD$73 trillion, Bezos’s commitment is miniscule in comparison to the scale of funding needed to seriously tackle the climate emergency.

Related: Finance Ministers Grapple Over Economic Threat of Climate Change


The African Union Executive Council has endorsed Akinwumi Adesina’s candidacy for a second term as President of the African Development Bank.

Related: Ireland Gets Closer To Becoming AFDB Member


Experts are advising the leaders of the World Bank not to downgrade the role of World Bank Chief Economist in the wake of Penny Goldberg’s departure after only 15 months in the role. Goldberg has not commented on her decision to resign but reports in The Economist suggest it was motivated in part by an effort by bank officials to block publication of a working paper which suggests large amounts of World Bank aid is being rerouted to tax havens upon delivery.

Related: Anger over World Bank’s $55m pledge to Guyana’s fossil fuel industry


UN Human Settlements Programme Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif says smart cities are excluding marginalised groups, with too much of the focus of smart city concepts and projects on the technology itself, not the outcomes we want.

Related: Does This Investment Make Me Look Good?


While Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, new climate and economic resilience innovations being developed as part of the recovery are positioning it as an incubator for other disaster-prone regions seeking safeguarding solutions, new climate and economic resilience innovations are positioning it as an incubator for other disaster-prone regions seeking safeguarding solutions, according to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Related: Aid workers navigate unpredictable access amid Haiti’s violent protests


Samaritans has abandoned the appointment of Jeremy Hughes as its new CEO after it emerged the Alzheimer’s Society paid out as much as £750,000 to staff who had complained of bullying and discrimination at the charity in order to get them to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) during his tenure.