Welcome to Episode 72 of Good Will Hunters from the Development Policy Centre. Our guest today is Terence Wood.
Terence is a Research Fellow at the Development Policy Centre, at the Australian National University. Terence undertakes research on Australia and New Zealand’s aid programs, in particular the domestic political economy of aid. He also undertakes research on Melanesian politics, with a focus on the Solomon Islands.
We recorded this episode in late February, before COVID19 was declared a pandemic and before mass unemployment began in Australia, so naturally the context in which we had this conversation six weeks ago is very different to the context we find ourselves in today. None the less, we address some topical issues, including the effectiveness of aid in the Pacific versus in the rest of the world, and why many donors and NGOs find working in the Pacific more difficult than working in other regions.
We also discuss Terence’s view that the main motivator behind Australia’s focus in the Pacific is the rising influence of China, and whether it’s reasonable that aid to the Pacific is being delivered at the expense of aid to other places. We also discuss whether we need to worry about our comparative advantage, or our unique “brand” of aid, rather than focusing now what and where the greatest need is – it’s an interesting paradigm shift for us all to consider.
We also address Terence’s work tracking Australian government aid transparency, as well as a discussion of gender and diversity on NGO Boards in Australia. Lastly, Terence tells us about his work in the Solomon Islands and broadly the impacts of poor governance, and whether aid can actually fix it.
Terence’s work features prominently on the Devpolicy blog. On March 30 he wrote an article on what COVID19 will mean for the Pacific.
You can read the full article on the Devpolicy blog here.
The GWH Team