Where Does Your Country Rank on Development? – CDI Podcast with Ian Mitchell and Anita Käppeli

September 07, 2017

How well do your country's policies make a positive difference for people in developing nations? That’s the question CGD seeks to answer each year in our Commitment to Development Index (CDI). It’s a ranking of 27 of the world’s richest nations based on seven policy areas: aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration. 

The team behind the CDI, deputy director of CGD Europe Ian Mitchell and policy analyst Anita Käppeli, join me this week on the CGD podcast to discuss why these rankings matter and how countries stack up. 

In first place this year is Denmark, followed by Sweden, Finland, France, and Germany. Greece, Japan, and South Korea rank at the bottom—though South Korea actually ranks first on the technology component.  

Among the countries in the middle are the UK, tying with the Netherlands for 7th place, and the US, all the way down at 23rd. In the future, how might these scores be impacted by the changing politics of the two nations? 

“On Brexit, there’s real potential for this to affect the CDI score,” Mitchell tells me in the podcast. “The UK will take control of its own migration policy more fully and it will have its own trade policy and it will take control of agricultural policy form the EU. All of those things feature in the Commitment to Development Index.”

As for the the Trump Administration’s America-first approach, Mitchell says, “It’s surely in the interest of countries to see other countries developing to reduce the security risk, to make sure there’s lower risk of disease emerging . . . and the CDI is a framework for prioritizing action on that.” 

Overall, Käppeli tells me, the CDI is a reminder to countries that “policy coherence is an issue; that they should not pursue policies in [only] one field—for instance, give a lot of aid, but then close the boarders for products from developing countries.”  

“The CDI is holistic,” Mitchell adds, pointing out that the CDI’s focus on policy is “complementary” to the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on outcomes: “If you think about how we’re going to achieve the SDGs, then looking at the CDI [is] a great way to do that.” 

Listen to the podcast above and check out the interactive rankings on the CDI page


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.