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CGD in the News

September 25, 2018

Can Nigeria Solve Its Energy Crisis? (Foreign Affairs)

By Todd Moss, Judd Devermont 

From the article: 

Nigeria is home to one in every five Africans and it has the continent’s largest economy. More than half of Nigerians are under 20 years old. Whether all these bright young people will drive growth or generate instability depends largely on whether Nigeria’s economy can produce jobs for them. And Nigeria won’t be able to create jobs at the required pace until it solves its energy crisis. 

By 2045, Nigeria will be more populous than the United States, but the entire country currently produces less than one percent as much electricity. A low-energy future—in which a youth bulge meets an underpowered economy that cannot create jobs—would be a security nightmare for both Nigeria and the United States. Many have proposed that Nigeria address this problem by circumventing the complex structural problems with the country’s electricity chain and going small. Some representatives from the United Nations, the international financial community, and philanthropy have advocated for countries like Nigeria to solve their energy shortfalls by investing in small-scale, renewable home systems. Although these systems are attractive, they won’t bring Nigeria’s economy—or its youth—into the future. 

Nigeria needs a high-energy grid system to power its factories and cities and to sustain a growing economy. The United States should partner with Nigeria to build such a system, which would stabilize one of Washington’s most important allies by helping it meet the economic needs and aspirations of its ballooning population. 

Read the full article here

 

September 24, 2018

CDI 2018 News Coverage

Bright Magazine: The Countries Who Give the Most in Aid Aren't Necessarily Helping

From the article:

To get a sense of what the 2018 rankings tell us, BRIGHT Magazine spoke with Anita Käppeli, CGDev’s director of policy outreach for Europe, who composed and led the development of the CDI.

 

NPR: Why The U.S. Ranks At The Bottom In A Foreign Aid Index 

From the article:

According to an annual index released Tuesday by the Center for Global Development that ranks 27 of the world's wealthiest countries, the U.S. scored dead last on foreign aid contributions and quality — despite being the largest donor in dollar amount. That's because in 2017, it allocated a mere 0.18 percent of its gross national income for development assistance. That is well short of the 0.7 percent that wealthy countries have committed to strive for since 1970. (Only seven countries met or exceeded that target in 2016.) 

 

The Guardian: Australia's rank on global development index hurt by climate change inaction

From the article:

“Australia’s commitment to global development has improved over the past year, driven by strong trade, education and finance outreach to the developing world, but it has been criticised for its poor action on the environment and climate change.

The Centre for Global Development annually ranks 27 wealthy countries on their commitment to development across the policy areas of aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security and migration.”

 

Devex: Which countries are the most committed to development?

From the article:

Scandinavian countries are the most committed national development actors, according to this year’s Commitment to Development Index, which measures not just aid levels, but also how well other policies foster sustainable development. Germany ranked third, making it the first time a G-7 country is placed in the top three in CDI’s 15-year history. The United States, at 23rd, remains stagnant.

 

SDG Knowledge Hub: Northern European Countries Rank Highest Among Rich Countries that Help Poor

From the article: 

The Center for Global Development (CGD) has ranked 27 of the world’s richest countries on how their policies help people living in poor countries. The Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which is published annually, looks at policies beyond development aid to understand what countries are doing well to support the world’s poor and where countries can still learn from other approaches.

 

Save the Children: Assessing Aid and Policy Coherence

From the article: 

Another day, another index. On Monday, the Center for Global Development launched the 2018 Commitment to Development Index. Since 2003, this is a regular assessment of the development behaviours and policies of the richest countries. This 2018 index ranks Sweden at the top, with the UK at number 8 (down one place from 2017). All of the top 10 countries are European. Sweden and Denmark are still leading the table, while Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands moved up a few places. The USA remains way below in 23rd place and South Korea is at the bottom.

 

Sydney Morning Herald: Australia ranks in bottom three rich countries for environmental policies

From the article:

“Australia's status as one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world has contributed to a bottom three ranking for environmental policy among wealthy nations.

But Australia has jumped four places overall in the Center for Global Development's commitment to development index thanks to effective foreign aid spending and dedication to open trading relationships.”

 

Euractiv: EU countries top development policy charts

From the article:

Sweden, Denmark and Germany are the top three in the annual index by the Washington-based think-tank, which ranks 27 wealthy countries based on their policies on aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security and migration.

 

Development Today Magazine: Three Nordics top donor ranking. Norway penalised for ‘low quality of aid’

From the article:

Sweden has the best migration policies among donors and Denmark gets top marks for contributing to international peacekeeping, according to the Center for Global Development’s CDI index for 2018. Norway, which topped the UNDP index announced last week, ranks nr 12 on the CDI because of high oil and gas production, heavy agricultural subsidies and the “low quality” of its aid.

 

Sveriges Radio: Rapport: Sverige bäst på att bidra till global utveckling

From the article:

I dag publiceras en internationell rapport som rankar rika länders positiva påverkan på resten av världen och bidrag till global utveckling. I år är det Sverige som toppar listan.

De sju områden som den ansedda tankesmedjan Center for Global Development, CGD, sammanställer data om, är bistånd, miljö, handel, säkerhet, migration, teknik och ekonomi. Datan kommer från OECD, FN och ländernas egna myndigheter och arbetet resulterar i en årlig rapport, som Sverige alltså toppar i år. 

 

El País: Cae el compromiso de España con el desarrollo

From the article:

El compromiso de España con el desarrollo internacional descendió cuatro puestos, según los resultados de la nueva edición del Índice de Compromiso con el Desarrollo publicados este martes. Esto nos coloca en el puesto 16º de esta clasificación que mide y compara a los 27 países más ricos del mundo. La caída en el índice, elaborado con datos de 2017, viene causada principalmente por la baja cantidad y calidad de la Ayuda Oficial al Desarrollo (AOD) española. 

 

TSF Rádio Notícias: Portugal está no top 10 dos países com melhores políticas de desenvolvimento

From the article:

Portugal é vem em 9.º lugar na lista dos países que mais ajudam ao desenvolvimento, de acordo com o ranking Commitment to Development , do Centro para o Desenvolvimento Global. A tabela é liderada pela Suécia. 

 

September 13, 2018

Global Debt Leaves World 'Vulnerable' to Upheaval (U.S. News & World Report)

By Andrew Soergel 

From the article: 

Standing before an auditorium at the University of Hong Kong earlier this year, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised what she saw as a "strong upswing that holds the promise of higher incomes and living standards" around the world.

But she also warned that the good times won't last. In order to shelter the world from a future international economic crisis, she advised nations to prioritize fixing "the roof while the sun is still shining," pointing to the record $164 trillion in public and private debt currently amassed by nations. 

... 

The U.S. lawmakers cited an estimation from the Center for Global Development that found 23 of 68 countries currently hosting Belt and Road Initiative projects are "at risk of debt distress today." They also cited Djibouti and Sri Lanka as countries that have been forced to grant China "onerous concessions, including equity in strategically important assets" in an effort to get out from under their indebtedness to Asia's largest economy. 

Read the full article here.

 

September 13, 2018

The small study in Rwanda that could change the way the US does foreign aid (Vox)

By Dylan Matthews 

From the article: 

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US government’s main foreign aid organization, has started doing something radical. It has begun testing programs it runs in Africa, and seeing if they actually do any more good than just handing out cash. And with the first such evaluation now in, the answer seems to be that they’d be better off giving away cash.

... 

It gets better for the cash side, though. Remember how 34 villages got a much, much bigger transfer, of $532 per household? Not only did wealth and consumption on regular goods like food and housing go up in that group, as you’d expect after giving someone a whole bunch of cash, but beneficiaries had more diverse diets, healthier child heights relative to age, and, most strikingly, lower child mortality.

This was a study covering a year period. Any intervention having a noticeable impact on child mortality, let alone an intervention that did nothing directly related to health, is surprising. And yet in only a year, child mortality among people getting the big cash transfer was 70 percent lower. In the control group, 13 out of 2,596 children died. Among the group getting the big transfer, only two out of 1,200 children died.

That’s a really startling finding. It’s such a big shock that I’m not even really sure I believe it. A 2013 literature review by the Center for Global Development’s Amanda Glassman, Denizhan Duran, and Marge Koblinsky identified three cash studies with infant or maternal mortality as a measured outcome. Two, in Mexico and India respectively, found that cash reduced mortality, while the third, in Nepal, did not find any significant effects. Nothing in that evidence base suggested a 70 percent reduction in one year was possible. I’m certainly open to the idea that the cash had some effect, but maybe the big difference between the treatment and control villages was a fluke. 

Read the full article here

 

September 12, 2018

Do Certifications Positively Affect Coffee Farmers? New Study Says “Meh” (Sprudge)

By Zac Cadwalader 

From the article: 

For the general coffee consuming public, certifications like those from Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance are indicators that the product they are buying are sustainably grown with farmers making a fair wage. Those more deeply involved in the coffee industry, though, often have a different view of these sort of certifications; many hold that while they aren’t per se bad, these certifications don’t necessitate a coffee’s sustainability and they certainly don’t mean that everyone involved in coffee production is paid a livable wage. And a new paper from the Center for Global Development appears to back this sentiment, finding that the impact of such certifications to be “mixed and usually finds modest effects at best.”

As reported by NPR, the paper by Kimberly Ann Elliot, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development, reviewed nearly 100 previous sustainability studies and found that it is “almost impossible to tell if those certifications have any measurable effect on coffee growers.” Elliot states that, essentially, metrics for deciphering the efficacy of the programs were only put in place after the fact, hamstringing their utility from the get go. 

Read the full article here

 

September 12, 2018

US senate speaks out on China’s ‘debt trap’ (The Star - Kenya)

By Victor Amadala 

From the article: 

Government’s huge borrowing from China may work against the country’s hope to retain IMF’s Sh150 billion precautionary facility that expires on Friday.

US Senate raised concern about high infrastructure debt issued to developing countries by China under the Belt and Road Initiative. It termed Chinese funding as ‘predatory’.

Kenya is among 23 countries at risk of debt distress following heavy lending from China under BRI as stated by World Bank in a study by Centre for Global Development (CGD) released in March this year. 

Read the full article here

 

September 12, 2018

China Expands Military Base in Djibouti, Seen as Competing With US Interests in Region (Epoch Times)

By Annie Wu 

From the article: 

China is rapidly expanding its military base in Djibouti, a small African country on the Red Sea, according to a recent analysis by a retired Indian Army officer published in The Print, an Indian news outlet.

According toThe Print report published on Sept. 10, satellite images reveal that the Chinese military base, which is located just miles from the United States’ Camp Lemmonier military base, has been visited by several LPD (landing platform docks) naval ships, which are capable of “embarking, transporting, and landing expeditionary forces along with requisite equipment.”

These ships have “blue-water capability,” which means the ability to operate far from a home port and in open water. 

... 

In February, Djibouti prematurely ended a contract with Dubai’s port operator DP World, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal (different than the China-financed port). The port seizure led Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa, to worry that Djibouti may hand over control of the terminal to China—to which the African nation owes a significant debt.

More than 80 percent of the country’s foreign debt is owed to China, according to a March report by the U.S. think tank Center for Global Development. Meanwhile, the country’s crippling public debt is valued at about 88 percent of the country’s overall $1.72 billion GDP. 

Read the full article here.

 

September 12, 2018

Fresh start for Oxfam as new CEO announced (Devex)

By Jessica Abrahams, Sophie Edwards 

From the article: 

LONDON — Aid insiders said it was the start of a fresh chapter for Oxfam GB as it announced its new chief executive on Tuesday, following a tumultuous six months.

The embattled charity named Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, currently chief executive officer of CIVICUS, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organizations, as its new head. Described by insiders as a strong advocate of the “global south” and a progressive thinker on development, he is due to take up the role at the end of the year. 

... 

LONDON — Aid insiders said it was the start of a fresh chapter for Oxfam GB as it announced its new chief executive on Tuesday, following a tumultuous six months.

The embattled charity named Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, currently chief executive officer of CIVICUS, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organizations, as its new head. Described by insiders as a strong advocate of the “global south” and a progressive thinker on development, he is due to take up the role at the end of the year. 

Read the full article here

 

September 12, 2018

Exporting Murder: US Deportations and the Spread of Violence (The Crime Report)

By Christian Ambrosius, David Leblang 

From the article: 

The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders recently published a report documenting the threats that drive 500,000 Central Americans away from their homes every year. The three countries of the so-called Northern Triangle— Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala—are among the most violent places on earth, with levels of violence that match the world’s deadliest war zones.

Many of those fleeing extreme violence in their homelands seek asylum in Mexico and the United States. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Northern Triangle countries has increased ten-fold since 2011. Notably, recent research by Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development finds that the massive inflow of unaccompanied minors across the southern border of the U.S. since the summer of 2014 has been due, in large measure, to violence in their communities of origin. 

Read the full article here.

 

September 11, 2018

Is Cash Better for Poor People Than Conventional Foreign Aid? (The New York Times)

By Marc Gunther 

From the article: 

In Matinza, a village in eastern Rwanda, Esther Nyirabazungu, a 63-year-old widow, lives with her son, daughter and two grandchildren in a hut with a dirt floor and no electricity or running water. Her life is hard, but not as hard as it was before she received six monthly cash donations worth about $100 each, with no strings attached, from a United States government trial program. 

... 

In a report on the agency, Sarah Rose and Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development wrote: “U.S.A.I.D. talks a lot about its results, but much of what it highlights are outputs. Much less is said about actual outcomes or development impact, even though understanding these is critical.”

In an interview, Ms. Glassman said that “most programs and policies are not being evaluated rigorously.” 

Read the full article here.  

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