CGD in the News

The End of an Era for USAID (Devex)


From the start, Rajiv Shah was Obama’s man to lead U.S. foreign aid efforts, and Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development underscored how the outgoing USAID chief was a “major force” behind President Barack Obama’s goal to eliminate global extreme poverty by 2030.

Shah, she told Devex, managed to sustain congressional support for the USAID budget, “including by clarifying that development progress around the world helps undergird long-term global stability and U.S. security.”

Migration: Global Development's Biggest Good News Story... Almost (Al Jazeera America)


Researchers have examined the size of economic losses caused by current restrictions on international migration, and the findings are frankly remarkable. As development economist and world-leading migration expert, Michael Clemens, puts it, “The few estimates we have should make economists’ jaws hit their desks.”

Former Minister Biti: Zanu-PF Succession Dispute Burdening Zimbabwe Economy (Voice of America)


Zimbabwe's former finance minister Tendai Biti says he has no faith in the new look Zanu PF team, including newly-minted vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekhezela Phoko, and their capacity to pull Zimbabwe out of the political, economic and social abyss.

Biti, who is currently in Washington DC as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Global Development where he is working on issues that affect fragile states, debt management, re-engagement with international financial institutions, economic recovery, among other issues, said Zimbabweans need to start looking to the youth for their salvation.

Why Raising Taxes Won't Fix Global Inequality (Bloomberg Businessweek)


OECD economist Federico Cingano also argued that “[r]edistribution policies via taxes and transfers are a key tool to ensure the benefits of growth are more broadly distributed.” Despite such recommendations, survey data from around the world show people are suspicious of taxes as a tool for greater equality. There’s good reason for skepticism: Existing tax and transfer systems across much of the developing world, in particular, have failed to take a dent out of inequality. 

Why Universal Health Care Is No Cure-All (Bloomberg Businessweek)


A World Bank review of extending universal health coverage in developing countries found that providing subsidized or free care did increase access to those services, especially by the poorest people. Such schemes also reduced recipients’ out-of-pocket expenses associated with health care. There were also some successes related to health outcomes. Argentina’s Plan Nacer, for example, provided services to pregnant women and young children, which was associated with a 2 percentage point reduction in early newborn mortality.

Win a Trip in 2015 (New York Times)


This year, the Center for Global Development was mentioned in New York Times reporter Nick Kristof's "Win a Trip" announcement.

Murder and Illegal Logging in Peru (BBC Business Daily)


Katrina Mullen, author of CGD report "The Value of Forest Ecosystem Services to Developing Economies", is interviewed by Ed Butler about economic costs of shrinking forests.

"What we've been looking at are the benefits of intact ecosystems, and they are things that are often not valued in monetary terms. They're not bought and sold in markets. But they're real, tangible benefits. Say, people living in tropical forests areas might have better nutrition because they have access to wild fruits and wild animals to supplement their diets. So that is something that might be lost if forest was cleared."

The World's Problems Make a Lot More Sense if You Think of it as a Giant Failed State (Vox)


In comments given to the London School of Economics Diplomacy Commission, Barder asked the audience to imagine a country that had no way to collect taxes, no police force, no ability to provide even emergency health care to its citizens, and no ability to enforce any of the laws it decides to make. That's the textbook definition of a failed state.

"But," Barder writes, "that is an almost exact description of the state of our global institutions."

Roads, Needles, Mines: What Is Your Government Signing on Your Behalf? (The Guardian)


Governments routinely sign multibillion-dollar contracts for infrastructure and services alongside agreements over the use of public property such as oil or gas deposits. The Development Gateway Market, which registers a small proportion of global government tenders for goods and services, adds as many as 32,000 tenders a week. However, usually, the resulting contracts remain locked in a cabinet, known only to a few government officials and company employees. That’s an unnecessary limit on freedom of information: citizens have the right to know what the government is signing on their behalf. But it is also a real loss to efficient government.

Why the World Needs Fewer Cops (Bloomberg Businessweek)


When people in developing countries encounter a policeman, they’re less likely to be subject to formalities.  The UN Office on Drugs and Crime tracks ‘formal contact’ with police –people cautioned, investigated or arrested.  Countries poorer than Brazil see 704 formal contacts per 100,000 citizens compared to 1,711 in countries richer than that. A more ubiquitous police presence, in other words, doesn’t lead to more formal investigations or arrests. Despite the fact that more than half of the population had contact with a policemen in Uganda over past year, for example, the country only sees 167 “formal” contacts per 100,000 –well below the developing country average.