After two and a half great years as director of CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, I’m handing over the reins to my colleague Scott Morris.  Many of you will know Scott as a CGD Senior Fellow with deep experience from the Treasury and on Capitol Hill.  He’s a thought leader on many US development issues, especially the multilateral development banks and international debt.  Rethink could not be in better hands as we start thinking about a new administration and Congress.

It has been an amazing honor to lead the initiative.  Even more importantly, it has been an immense pleasure to work with all of you who care so deeply about improving US development policies and programs.

Collectively, we have achieved a lot of progress despite broader political gridlock in Washington.  Just this week, the US Congress passed the Electrify Africa Act.  This culminated a nearly three-year process, both on Capitol Hill and within the Obama Administration.  This is an important win for all us, even if there is still much work to be done.  Last year, Congress not only approved a long-term reauthorization of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, but also took some steps to make it more effective and accountable.   The AGOA process also created new space for additional trade-related reforms, such as the proposed Global Gateways Trade Capacity Act.

Throughout all of this, the Rethink initiative and broader CGD team has continued to produce top-quality, independent analysis.  Here are a couple of my favorite examples.  Of course, the full list is much, much longer.  Last year, we launched the 2016 White House and the World, which lays out over a dozen practical policy proposals for promoting growth and reducing poverty abroad.  This product has received a lot of attention, and hopefully will continue to influence how policymakers think and act.  In early 2015, we unveiled Rethink’s MCC@10 series, which examines this innovative agency’s first decade and charts the path ahead.  And, there’s OPIC of course, America’s often misunderstood and underappreciated development finance institution.  We have produced a ton of OPIC analysis over the years (see here, here, and here for examples), including a big and bold new idea for modernizing US development finance tools.  

For my part, I will remain at CGD as a senior fellow focusing on development finance issues and how mobile technologies can deepen and improve citizen feedback loops.  The Rethink initiative change also will provide more time to focus on a venture outside CGD.  I will be leading an exciting new private data analytics venture called Copernicus, which applies geospatial frameworks to redefine how data is analyzed and used for decisions on the African continent, particularly at the sub-national level.   So, this is far from a farewell.  In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Scott to his exciting new role.