This week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will release its annual Goalkeepers report card assessing progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among the expected findings is a prediction that by 2050, nearly 90 percent of global poverty will be concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, and two-thirds of the world’s poorest people will live in just ten countries.
The ability to identify human-development hotspots—what we call “severely off-track countries” (SOTCs)—should, in theory, make it easier to apply solutions. Unfortunately, some aid agencies tend to avoid fragile states out of fear that their resources will be wasted. Currently, less than a quarter of OECD countries’ programmable aid is allocated to SOTCs.