Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

June 19, 2018

How do we choose to help? (Devex)

GENEVA  — On April 17, Start Network received an urgent alert from two of its 42 member organizations, asking for rapid funding to combat a cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria. The other members of the United Kingdom-based humanitarian network were quickly consulted, but they were divided over whether, of all the world’s pressing humanitarian needs, this one deserved some of the network’s precious funds.

By the following day, however, the independent organization ACAPS had completed the rapid assessment of the crisis requested by Start as soon as the appeal came in. It added a crucial new perspective: There was a large population of internally displaced people in the area, whose lack of safe drinking water and sanitation made them particularly vulnerable to the disease.

...

one-year report on the Grand Bargain’s implementation published last year by the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute found that even where increased assessments were being done, they often suffered from a particular weakness: When carried out by aid organizations, they “tend to focus on the services supplied by these same organizations, at the expense of providing a more objective overview of needs.”

In other words, a food aid organization will tend to find that many of the needs are dietary; a medical charity will discover large unmet health needs, and so forth. Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, D.C., said this is a common problem. Such assessment often “doesn't tell you a great deal about relative priorities and the urgency of different types of needs,” he said.

Read the full article here.

June 19, 2018

The Three Big Things Trump Doesn’t Get About Trade Policy (World Politics Review)

By Kimberly Ann Elliott

Trying to follow trade policy under the Trump administration makes your head spin. One minute there are going to be big tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese exports, and then there are not—except then maybe they will be imposed, after all. But who really knows, because a lot can happen between now and July 6, when the latest tariffs that were announced last week are set to take effect.

Just in the past month, President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, then undermined the enforcement of those sanctions by undercutting penalties against Chinese telecom company ZTE for having violated them. It is hard to keep up, and it is hard to find the logic behind what often looks like chaos. Starting this week, I hope to help WPR readers navigate the twists and turns of international economic policy in these odd times.

​Read the full article here.

June 19, 2018

Lack of investment contributes to India facing mass water shortage (Public Finance International)

Bad management and a lack of infrastructure investment are contributing to major water shortages and access problems in India, a think-tank has warned.

The report added that an average of 200,000 people die every year as a result of inadequate access to safe water. 

India’s sustainable water development has been slow in recent years and is “only going to get worse”, the report by government think-tank Niti Aayog stated.

...

Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development, told PF International: “Water, sanitation and hygiene at healthcare centres and at domestic settings are conditions for improving population health and achieving the vision of universal healthcare coverage.

Read the full article here.

 

June 18, 2018

Op-Ed: Beijing uses infrastructure as friendly forerunner of political power (The Sydney Morning Herald)

By Peter Hartcher

Do you see a pattern here?

The Chinese Communist Party built a road into Tibet and the Tibetans were excited - it was their first highway: "We were promised peace and prosperity with the highway, and our parents and grandparents joined in building the road," as the president of Tibet's government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, tells the story.

...

Already, in this very early phase of Belt and Road, new Chinese lending is exposing eight countries to risk of financial distress, according to a report by the Centre for Global Development, a US-based non-profit think tank.

​Read the full article here.

June 12, 2018

Can Korea be reliable partner for Africa? (Korea Times)

To many Africans who have visited the Republic of Korea, three scenarios come to mind when thinking of this country: breathtaking scenery, hallyu, cultural heritage and unique cuisine; the absence of poverty and hunger; remarkable economic growth; and Koreans willingness to share their development experience.

...

Despite these encouraging developments, Africans need to pose one fundamental question: Can Korea become a reliable and indispensable partner in realizing the African dream? This question is pertinent for two reasons.

One, Korea is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) which accounts for 80 percent of total Official Development Aid (ODA). But unlike China and the richer OECD members, Korea does not have deep pockets. As reported by the OECD on April 9, 2018, bilateral and multilateral ODA from OECD countries in 2017 was $146.6 billion which represent 0.31 percent as a share of gross national income (GNI). The U.S. was the largest donor at $35.3 billion; followed by Germany, $24.7 billion; the U.K., $17.9 billion; Japan, $11.5 billion; and France, $11.4 billion. Korea came in at $2.2 billion, representing 0.14 percent of its GNI.

Secondly, the commitment to the development index (CDI) 2017, from the Center for Global Development, which ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations, places Korea at the bottom. The CDI uses seven components namely aid, finance, technology, the environment, trade, security and migration. Except for technology and finance, Korea scores very poorly on all the other components.

Read the full article here.

June 11, 2018

SDG Knowledge Weekly: Finance, Development Cooperation, Data and Innovative Technology (SDG Knowledge Hub)

As a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on breaking the bottlenecks to SDG investment convenes in New York, this brief explores a wide range of sources for SDG financing, as well as some challenges associated with their advancement. Data and technology continue to feature strongly in such conversations, and are also highlighted in the items below.

...

On public finance, the Center for Global Development’s Owen Barder examines the idea of development cooperation as a win-win for donors and recipients, in a blog posted to the organization’s website. He describes two camps of thinking: some believe that “aid should never be spent in the national interest” whereas others are of the mind that “all development cooperation should be directly win-win.” Barder argues for a middle ground. Graphing the relationship between the level of altruism in development cooperation and the extent to which a policy tackles the causes, rather than the symptoms, of poverty, he explains that it may be difficult to make highly altruistic forms of development cooperation serve national interests without decreasing their impact on the ground. However, the resulting increases in stability or prosperity in the recipient country is still good for the donor country, he notes.

Read the full article here.

June 8, 2018

Op-Ed: The Price of an Incompetent President (The New York Times)

By Michelle Goldberg

On Wednesday, five days after the official start of hurricane season in the Atlantic, Donald Trump attended what was supposed to be a meeting on storm preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. Most of the meeting was closed to the press, but The Washington Post obtained a recording.

According to The Post, Trump spoke about the coming North Korea summit meeting, polling on the midterms, the Taiwanese company Foxconn, his love of coal and his administration’s “great” popularity. He claimed that the government saved $1.6 billion on Air Force One after he got involved in negotiations. The Post reported, “Military officials have not been able to explain where Trump got such a figure.”

...

Experts acknowledge that Hurricane Maria would have challenged any president. “The basic model for a FEMA response is that the state and local authorities lead, and FEMA comes in to support their recovery effort,” Jeremy Konyndyk, who headed U.S.A.I.D.’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance under Barack Obama, told me. In Puerto Rico, where the whole island had been devastated, that was impossible.

But it’s precisely because FEMA isn’t set up to handle situations like Puerto Rico that we needed a capable president. “When a government agency needs to do something it is not designed to do, it takes a lot of very disciplined, rigorous White House leadership” to make it happen, Konyndyk said.

Read the full article here.

June 8, 2018

Juggling ties with China and India is a struggle all small states face, Maldives ex-president says (CNBC)

Small states in the eastern hemisphere are at risk of being dragged into the orbit of either China or India, a former Asian president said Friday.

But Mohamed Waheed Hassan, who led the Maldives in 2012 and 2013, added that there's an area the region's superpowers and its smaller nations could easily work together on.

"Emerging markets are caught between big powers," he told CNBC. "All small states, whether they are developed or underdeveloped, are going through this experience," he said, citing Singapore and Sri Lanka as fellow Asian nations facing the same challenge of appeasing both their Chinese and Indian neighbors.

...

As part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar spending plan to revive ancient trading routes, it is "heavily involved" in a $830 million plan to upgrade the Maldives' international airport in the capital Male. China is also financing the building of a new population center and bridge nearby costing $400 million, according to a March report by Washington-based think tank the Center for Global Development.

Read the full article here.

June 7, 2018

East African countries have become the investment haven in Africa (Africa.com)

With the giants of Africa, Nigeria and South Africa, faced with a crisis at home, East African countries are increasingly becoming a suitable alternative for foreign investors and large consumer companies. Both of Africa’s largest economies have experienced growth at below 2%, hit hard by fall in global commodity prices in 2016. While East African countries’ led by Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have been enjoying growth rates not less than 5% since then.

​...

Countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania have also benefitted from generally low labour costs. In a recent Working Paper by The Center for Global Development (CGD), it said the “general level of prices in Ethiopia is below the level in India and comparable to that of in Bangladesh.” Kenya and Tanzania have also been identified as countries with low wages but not as low as Ethiopia. With labor costs now rising faster in places like China, large manufacturing firms are exploring opportunities for production outside Asia. These East African countries have become a sweet spot.

Read the full article here.

June 6, 2018

How much you earn depends largely on where you live (Economist)

There are several reasons why some people make more money than others. They could be brighter, or harder-working, or have rare talents. They could do jobs that pay better because they are unpleasant or dangerous. All these factors are important, but the strongest predictor of how much you earn is where you were born. 

​...

Part of the reason why people in the rich world earn more is that they are better-educated, which tends to make them more productive. But productivity also depends on where you work. A study by Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank, examined the wages of Haitians after their country was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2010. They found that the incomes of Haitian farmworkers who secured visas to work in America shortly afterwards rose by 1,400% compared with those who stayed in Haiti. Simply moving to a country with the rule of law, good infrastructure, sophisticated companies and so forth—ie, a rich country—made the Haitians dramatically more productive.

Read the full article here.

Pages

Topic

Expert