With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Co-Chair of the Energy Access Targets working group; Senior Fellow and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Global Development
Former president, African Development Bank; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development; Hauser Leader-in-Residence, Harvard University
Founding Partner, Kupanda Capital
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University
Energy Sector Team Lead, Power Africa, USAID
How much energy do the world’s poor need? The current commonly used definition is a mere 100 kilowatts hours per person per year—or enough to power a single lightbulb for five hours per day and charge a mobile phone. Such a low bar can have profound implications for national targets, for international goals, and on a wide range of critical investment decisions with long-term effects on development. CGD convened the Energy Access Targets Working Group in response to the growing attention to the energy needs of the poor, to the severe gaps in access, and a concern about the specific indicators being used to measure progress. In this report, the Working Group presents five recommendations for a new standard of energy access that would signify meaningful transformation in households and national economies.
In outlining his vision for U.S. development assistance, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green has emphasized fidelity to an overarching purpose—ending its need to exist. Consistent with this objective, USAID has been developing a new strategic approach that seeks to more systematically orient its programming toward building countries’ capacity to plan, finance, and manage their own development. A key component of this “journey to self-reliance” framework is a set of metrics that will help assess each country’s progress along their journey. The metrics will help inform strategic planning around the nature of USAID’s partnership with the country, shape development dialogue, and help inform thinking about strategic transitions.
Five members of the Zimbabwe Working Group traveled to Harare May 20-25 to meet with the government, opposition leaders, and a wide range of business, religious, and civil society organizations to assess prospects for free and fair elections and for meaningful political and economic reform. Please join us to hear from the delegation as they share their findings and recommendations for US policy.
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.