The true issue here is not whether for-profits play an important role -- it should be clear that they do -- but rather how to encourage the right kind of for-profits to address the social needs of the poor.
Earlier this month, Forbes magazine released its list of the most powerful people on the planet. At the top was Chinese leader Hu Jintao; his countryman Justin Yifu Lin is chief economist of the World Bank.
Donors fear that if they push Ethiopia too hard, it may turn toward China's no-strings money. But continuing to write checks in the face of Ethiopia's increasing authoritarianism runs counter to donors' own policies, which state that human rights are central to sustainable development.
The World Bank recently launched the "Apps for Development Competition" in order to connect the word's best and the brightest minds at the intersection of software development and poverty-alleviation efforts.
How much will donor governments reach into their shrinking wallets to finance IDA's health, infrastructure, and agriculture projects? How much financial creativity have donors and World Bank management brought to the table? The answers are mixed.