Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Podcast

Exploring smart policies for a better world

 

"Every SDG Target Needs a Form of Identification" – Podcast with Alan Gelb and Mariana Dahan

Imagine the panic and frustration you’d feel if you lost your passport or driver’s license. They are basic proofs of identity that we – in the developed world – readily use to access a huge range of services from getting on a plane, to opening a bank account, to proving our eligibility for education, to exercising our right to vote. Yet around 2 billion people – mainly in the developing world – have no legal form of identity. That includes some 650m children who have never been registered at birth.

The Right to a Personal Identity - Alan Gelb

What role can biometrics play in aiding development? My guest this week, senior fellow Alan Gelb, explains why new biometric identification technologies may be the key to radically expanding the social, political, and commercial opportunities for people in the developing world. Biometrics, he says, make it possible to fulfil for people everywhere the right to a unique, personal identity.

Identity and Development – Alan Gelb and Julia Clark

Being able to prove who you are is a powerful tool that can serve as a basis for exercising rights like voting, accessing financial services and receiving transfers, and reducing fraud. Yet billions of people in the developing world lack a means to officially identify themselves. In this week’s Wonkcast, Alan Gelb and Julia Clark draw from their ongoing research on biometric technology and development to explain how developing country governments and donors can tap advances in biometrics to help empower poor people.

Leapfrogging Technology, the Case for Biometrics: Alan Gelb

This show was originally posted on January 11, 2011

In developed countries, official identification systems are a fact of life, providing the foundation for a myriad of transactions including elections, pension payments, and the legal system. Without functional ID systems, citizens of many developing countries miss out on the benefits of official identification. On this week’s Wonkcast, I am joined by CGD senior fellow Alan Gelb who has been researching the potential for new biometric technology, such as computerized finger printing and iris scans, to help poor countries leapfrog the long and complicated process of setting up ID systems.

Implementing Oil-to-Cash – Todd Moss

When a poor country finds oil, bad things often get worse. Countries rich in extractable natural resources, especially oil, frequently suffer from crummy governance, high poverty, endemic corruption and conflict. Is it possible to beat this oil curse? My guest on the Wonkcast this week, Todd Moss, CGD vice president for programs and senior fellow, says yes. He argues that a government that transfers some or all of its oil revenue to citizens in a universal, transparent, and regular taxable payment, could strengthen the social contract, fight corruption, and lay the foundation for future prosperity.

Holiday in Harare: Alan Gelb

Alan GelbWhat does extreme hyperinflation look like? Consider a pile of currency tall enough to encircle our entire galaxy. That’s how many Zimbabwean dollars you would have needed by the end of the country’s extraordinary inflationary crisis to equal one pre-crisis Zim dollar, according to CGD senior fellow Alan Gelb.

Leapfrogging Technology, the Case for Biometrics: Alan Gelb

Alan GelbIn developed countries, official identification systems are a fact of life, providing the foundation for a myriad of transactions including elections, pension payments, and the legal system. Without functional ID systems, citizens of many developing countries miss out on the benefits of official identification.

Can Oil Money Be Spent Well? Alan Gelb on Resource Revenues and Development.

Alan GelbMany developing countries have found that large deposits of oil or other natural resources are more a curse than a blessing. My guest on this week's Wonkcast is Alan Gelb, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Together with co-author Sina Grassman, Alan has written a paper that explores the options facing developing countries with abundant natural resources and draws on historical evidence to recommend best practices for dodging the 'resource curse.'