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Questions on aid delivery

A Conversation with Bill Gates: Aid Delivery & Effectiveness

A Conversation with Bill Gates: Global Development Opportunities
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Question excerpt from Transcript of Q & A Session with Larry Cohen

Well, speaking of impact and effectiveness, how do we ensure that once the aid is committed, it actually gets to where it's supposed to go.  And that once it's there, it's actually effective in its work?

Well, there are many different ways that that money's spent. A big one and one that's grown a lot is health.  And in health, the idea of seeing that the drugs or vaccines get bought, seeing that they get shipped, seeing that they get out to the kids and people who are in great need, that's reasonably straightforward.

And so we monitor. We go and do statistical analysis. We look for the challenges there. And so in the area of health, we can say that the vast, overwhelming amount of money is very well spent. There's sometimes a few percent that gets misdirected. And we have systems that catch that.

The basic room for improvement is more in innovation-- inventing drugs that are cheaper, inventing things that don't require so much personnel. We're going to keep trying to minimize the few percent that gets redirected.  But if people care about impact, it's that innovation, new approaches, where we can often come up and be 20% better, 30% better. And, you know, that's my full-time work is going in and thinking, "Do we have the smartest people looking at these approaches and being willing to try new and better ways?"

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