Now for the hard part: strategies for enhancing state capability for implementation - AAC2017 by Development Policy Centre published on 2017-02-26T09:15:25Z Keynote address, 2017 Australasian Aid Conference, ANU Speaker: Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank and Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard University Despite what today’s headlines might convey, life for most people in most developing countries has never been better. This should be rightly celebrated, but improving basic levels of human welfare from a low base was the relatively ‘easy’ part. To consolidate and expand these achievements, the key development challenge remains building the state’s capability to implement incrementally more complex and contentious tasks, at scale (e.g., justice, regulation, taxation, land administration) and those tasks inherently requiring extended forms of human interaction (classroom teaching, curative care). These are fundamentally different types of challenges, however, ones for which our prevailing aid architecture was not designed and on which achievements to date are mostly flat or declining: if current trends continue, only about 10% of those living in developing countries today will have descendants who reside in a ‘high capability’ country by the end of this century. Different types of problems require different kinds of solutions, elements of which will be outlined.