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CGD in the News

July 5, 2018

Funding fears as US loses IOM leadership (Devex)

 

WASHINGTON — Washington’s candidate to head the United Nations’ migration agency was roundly rejected Friday, coming in last behind candidates proposed by two other countries, and raising fears of retaliation from its largest donor.

Leadership of the International Organization for Migration has historically been considered all but reserved for the United States. Since its founding in 1951, all its leaders bar one, in the 1960s, have been American. But in voting at its Geneva headquarters last week, the 171 member states elected António Vitorino of Portugal as the organization’s new director general. Vitorino, 61, is a former European commissioner for justice and home affairs and former deputy prime minister in a socialist government in Portugal, where he served under António Guterres.

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Jeremy Konyndyk, the former head of the U.S. government’s foreign disaster relief efforts during the Obama administration and a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, argued in a statement that the result represented a rejection of “the Trump administration’s own views on migration — attacking fundamental asylum rights in the United States, banning travel from numerous Muslim-majority countries, devastating refugee resettlement, and most notoriously, separating undocumented migrant children from their parents.”

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Characterizing the election result as a “stinging rebuke” to Washington, Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at CGD, stated, “I would be very surprised if the United States did not take some retaliation” against IOM.

Read the full article here.

July 5, 2018

Universal lessons (The Economist)

As you walk from classroom to classroom at Tibba Khara school on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-biggest city, the children seem to disappear. Pandemonium prevails in the first classroom, packed with five- and six-year-olds in their first year of school. But pass through the next few rooms, with progressively older classes, and both the number of pupils and the volume level steadily diminish. By the time you reach the class of ten- and 11-year-olds, there are just a handful of pupils left, silently studying.

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If you want to find an uneducated child in today’s world, argues Lant Pritchett, an economist at Harvard University, “you can find them in school”.

The extent of the failure is immense. According to a survey of three east African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) published in 2014, three-quarters of pupils in the third year of primary school could not read a sentence such as: “The name of the dog is Puppy.” In rural India almost the same share could not subtract 17 from 46, or perform similar calculations with two-digit numbers. Research by the Centre for Global Development (CGD), a think-tank, suggests that in half of the developing countries for which they have data, less than 50% of women who left school after the age of 11 can read a sentence. UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for education and science, estimates that six out of ten children worldwide (a total of more than 600m) do not meet a minimum standard of proficiency in reading and maths. The vast majority of these children are in school.

Read the full article here.

July 5, 2018

Measuring Up: USAID Proposes New Indicators to Assess Countries’ “Journey to Self-Reliance” (New Security Beat)

“At the heart of…USAID’s transformation, is the core belief that each country must lead its development journey, and finance and implement solutions to its development challenges,” said Susan Fine of USAID at a recent Center for Global Development event introducing USAID’s new “Journey to Self-Reliance ” indicators.

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“Using data is always preferable to relying on assumptions,” said Sarah Rose of the Center for Global Development. However, “no set of cross-country indicators is ever going to provide a complete picture or be able to fully answer everything you need to know about development.” The challenge lies in “ensuring that everyone who uses this tool…also utilizes it with a keen focus on some of the limitations as well,” said Rose.

Read the full article here.

July 3, 2018

Bangladesh deserves a win-win solidarity compact (Dhaka Tribune)

By Cindy Huang, Kate Gough, Nazanin Ash, Marcus Skinner

Bangladesh should pursue its dialogue with the international community with more ambition

On August 25, 2017, in retaliation to attacks on its local security forces by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Myanmar military undertook a campaign of violence and terror against the Rohingya people that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Nearly 700,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 -- including more than 500,000 in a single month, the fastest refugee exodus since the Rwandan genocide. And while this campaign was most significant in terms of people displaced, it also capped a long history of disenfranchisement and abuse of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Read the full article here.

 

July 3, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For in a Trade Fight Between Trump and Congress (World Politics Review)

By Kimberly Ann Elliott

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate trade, and for more than a century it did so with gusto. Then, grasping for ways to escape the Great Depression and reverse the downward economic spiral that followed the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which passed in 1930, Congress delegated some of its trade power to the executive branch. In subsequent decades, Congress provided additional authorities allowing the president to control trade policy. Now, however, with concerns about President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policy moves—imposing a range of tariffs on close allies and rivals alike, and threatening more—there are calls to shift some of that authority back to Congress. 

As the United States celebrates the anniversary of its founding this week, it seems like a good time to review history and see how and why the governance of trade evolved the way it has in Washington. This history suggests strongly that, while some rebalancing is desirable, Congress should exercise great caution in reclaiming its power to regulate trade.

Read the full article here.

July 2, 2018

US pours billions in Kenya to rival China dominance (Standard Digital)

The United States faces an uphill task in a fresh bid to reclaim its position as Kenya’s dominant trading partner on the back of growing volatility in the international market. This comes even as China, currently the leading protagonist in a simmering trade war kicked off by US President Donald Trump, firms its grip on much of Kenya’s revenue basket through more than Sh500 billion in State-guaranteed credit.

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Earlier this year, Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development published a report stating China’s One Belt One Road mega project  - of which Kenya plays a pivotal role through the SGR and the Lapsset project - poses a significant risk of debt distress to Kenya and 68 other low-income countries.

“The primary concern is that an $8 trillion-dollar initiative will leave countries with debt “overhangs” that will impede sound public investment and economic growth more generally,” said the report in part adding that the problems will create an unfavorable degree of dependency on China.

“In Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, and Kenya, there could be an increase in the risk of debt distress in the short-term due to BRI-related projects,” said the report in part.  

Read the full article here.

July 2, 2018

Mapping Refugees and Urban Job Opportunities (New Security Beat)

Although most of us picture refugees living in remote, dusty camps, as many as 2.1 million of the developing world’s working-age refugees reside in major urban areas—where they should have greater access to employment opportunities. However, according to a new report from the Center for Global Development, finding employment remains “one of the major unmet needs identified by refugees.”

To help illuminate this potential workforce, the Center for Global Development created an interactive map tool that displays the locations and sizes of refugee population relative to urban areas within 31 developing countries. Powered by open source mapping platform Mapbox, the map plots refugee populations by size and location (urban or rural).  Hovering over a particular country will yield total refugee population, the percentage of working-age refugees, the breakdown between urban and rural populations, and the number of multinational companies and how many people they employ.

Read the full article here.

June 30, 2018

African Banks Consider Chinese Yuan, But Risks Loom (Voice of America)

More than a dozen African countries have been weighing the merits of adding the Chinese yuan to their mix of foreign reserves, discussing the idea at a gathering of officials last month in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Adopting the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or RMB, would make it easier for African countries to pay back loans to China.

But it could also increase reliance on an economic and development partner that’s come under increasing scrutiny for the conditions it places on deals with African partners.

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Multibillion-dollar loans to fund Chinese infrastructure projects tied to the Belt and Road Initiative represent sizable portions of some African economies. In Djibouti, for instance, infrastructure loans from China equal 75 percent of GDP, according to the Center for Global Development.

Repaying those loans might not be straightforward.

Read the full article here.

June 29, 2018

UN migration agency elects new chief in test for Donald Trump (The New Indian Express)

By AFP

GENEVA: The UN migration agency was electing a new director general on Friday in a vote testing US influence in a major international organisation, with Washington's candidate battling accusations of anti-Muslim bigotry.

The head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been an American throughout the agency's 67-year history with one exception from 1961 to 1969.

But President Donald Trump's nominee Ken Isaacs, an executive with the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse, was hardly a lock to win as the IOM's 172 member-states began voting in Geneva. 

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Jeremy Konyndyk, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, noted that IOM members are worried that if Isaacs is rejected Trump could "retaliate by slashing funding."

Read the full article here.

June 29, 2018

Does America face a refugee or an immigration problem? (Politifact)

By Jon Greenberg

Separating children from their parents at the southwest border ignited a broad emotional outcry not often seen in the country’s long-running immigration debate. After weeks of defending the policy both as a deterrent and necessary to make the border legally meaningful, President Donald Trump and his administration reversed course.

The policy switch was itself a rarity for Trump, and it prompted the host of NBC’s Meet the Press Chuck Todd to ask the guests on his June 24 show, "Is this more of a refugee crisis than an immigration crisis?"

There is no definitive answer, but to frame the issue in terms of refugees instead of immigration redefines the problem.

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Around 2012, a surge of teenagers without their parents began arriving at the southwest border. By 2013, for the first time, the unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras outnumbered those from Mexico. In 2014, they accounted for 75 percent of arrivals at the border.

U.S. authorities ended up collecting detailed information on 178,825 minors. Critically, that data included the towns and cities they had left behind.

Economist Michael Clemens at the Center for Global Development took that location data and ran it against the homicide data specific to those places. Violence, Clemens noted, isn’t spread evenly. It concentrates in hot spots.

Read the full article here.

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