From the impact of Brexit on the not-for-profit sector to the forces and influences shaping global development

More than USD $10 Billion worth of deals across Central and Eastern Europe have collapsed following the arrest of former Hong Kong Minister Patrick Ho on corruption and money laundering charges in New York last year. Ho is accussed of being involved in a bribery scheme to secure advantages for the Chinese oil company CEFC China Energy Co in Africa, one of the major private contributors to China’s New Silk Road program, increasing international suspicions of the initiative’s true purpose and value.


British NGOs are opening offices and strengthening their European presence in the run-up to Brexit according to the international development network Bond. Organisations are reportedly registering in the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and Germany in order to maintain access to EU funds, raising concerns in the UK that the British aid sector could lose much of its aid expertise.


USAID is to establish a new Bureau for Resilience and Food Security ‘to promote resilience’. The move, which is yet to be approved by Congress, comes amid increasing pressure on the agency to reduce spending and improve efficiency.


Steve McCallum and Suzette Viviers of Stellenbosch University have published a study looking at the barriers to impact investing, finding the main obstacle in the sector isn’t ambiguity around what constitutes social and environmental impact but rather the lack of a clear method ‘to establish and balance clear and detailed impact objectives regarding financial objectives.’


US Billionaire and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has announced a USD $1.8 Billion donation to John Hopkins University, the largest ever contribution to an academic institution in US History. The donation is to be exclusively used for financial aid in order to allow the University to permanently offer ‘need blind admissions’. The donation has been criticised by some observers who argue that given John Hopkins University is already a high-profile institution and represents such a small pool of University students out of the millions attending college throughout the country, Bloomberg’s money would be better spent elsewhere.


The Institute for Policy Studies has published a new report on the philanthropic sector,  Gilded Giving 2018: Top-Heavy Philanthropy and Its Risks to the Independent Sector. The report focuses on the increasing concentration of influence in the charity sector as charities come to rely on a small collection of wealth individuals and foundations for the majority of their funds.


As the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IFDC) begins to take shape, observers in the global development space are warning the US’s new posture could undermine development cooperation. Experts fear that, by using development finance to counter Chinese influence and interests, the Trump Administration will create an environment in which countries compete to provide development aid leading to an aid environment with lower impact and assessment standards for projects.


One of the main obstacles facing the international community’s efforts to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is the lack of ‘high-quality, timely, accessible data’ in much of the developing world. Experts believe that emerging technologies in both AI and data collection could have a huge impact on the global development sector and will play a key role in the global campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Over the past few years the international health community has struggled to respond to supranational health crises like the recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa or the Zika virus outbreak. Gavin Yamey, Osondu Ogbuoji, and Kaci Kennedy of the Duke Global Health Institute argue the world needs to establish common definitions and terminology for discussing ‘global public goods for health’ to meet these challenges in future.


Dale Gavin from the Meloy Fund and Aimee Gonzales from PEMSEA discuss the ways the impact investment community is working to find a balance between the need to establish sustainable fishing practices while protecting the livelihoods of those who depend on fishing.


The European Commission and the Government of China have reaffirmed their commitment to seek to work together to enhance EU-China development cooperation with a focus on sustainability.


Cafod has announced the appointment of Christine Allen as its new director, succeeding Chris Bain in the role when he retires in the Spring. Allen is currently director of policy and public affairs at Christian Aid and was previously executive director of Progressio.