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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.
Mayra Buvinic, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Nedra Dickson, Global Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Lead, Accenture
Henriette Kolb, Head of the Gender Secretariat, International Finance Corporation
Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International
Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security
Rajesh Mirchandani, Vice-President of Communication and Policy Outreach, Center for Global Development
Women are overrepresented in the informal sector worldwide, often stuck in dangerous, insecure, low-paid jobs. Waste picking in particular is a highly vulnerable and risky form of informal employment. In 1995, India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) organized women waste pickers in Ahmedabad into a cooperative to improve their working conditions and livelihoods. Over time, this informal arrangement evolved into Gitanjali – a women-owned and -run social enterprise, that produces a full range of stationery products for large multinational corporations, including Staples, IBM, and Goldman Sachs.
What difference has Gitanjali made to the lives and opportunities of women waste pickers in India? What are the implications for women’s social enterprises in other countries? What are the challenges that remain to be overcome? The Center for Global Development is delighted to bring together some of the key private sector partners that helped Gitanjali generate social value, along with practitioners from the public sector and multilateral financial institutions, for a robust discussion about job options for poor women in low paid, informal occupations, including a model entrepreneurship venture. The event will be informed by the CGD report, The Gitanjali Cooperative: A Social Enterprise in the Making.
The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department is launching a new book entitled Digital Revolutions in Public Finance. Offering the first detailed assessment of the impact of digital technology on fiscal policy, this publication is a landmark of a collaboration between the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It includes contributions from academics, former government officials and technologists, providing perspectives on how digitalization can revolutionize the design and implementation of fiscal policy—and on the risks and challenges that need to be faced.
The Center for Global Development—with Results for Development—is pleased to host this year's Philip A. Musgrove Memorial Lecture, to be delivered by Ricardo Bitran. Philip A. Musgrove worked on a broad set of topics in health economics and policy in developing countries. In each, he made major contributions thanks to his keenly analytical mind and implacable logic, along with his dry sense of humor. Setting priorities in health was among Philip’s preferred subjects. While at the World Bank he worked on the World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health. A main and controversial prescription from the Report was that low- and middle-income countries could tackle a substantive part of their burden of disease by delivering a health benefits package of prioritized, cost-effective interventions.
In many countries, it is difficult to raise taxes and therefore difficult to increase spending on health care. Nevertheless, many of the factors that determine population health—and how it is distributed among citizens—do not involve spending more on healthcare services, per se. Rather, the burden of many non-communicable diseases and external injuries can be influenced by creative reform of taxes and subsidies. Taxing tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce consumption of products which contribute to cardiovascular disease, traffic accidents, and diabetes. Subsidies for condoms, vaccines, and TB diagnostics can reduce the prevalence of many important infectious diseases. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, will present findings from his research with Ian Parry at the International Monetary Fund on the potential for health gains from taxes and subsidies. This lunchtime talk will be moderated by William Savedoff, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Transactional sex (sex for money) is a common risk-coping behavior in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to be a leading driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In her upcoming paper, Kelly Jones and her coauthors examine whether access to precautionary savings can mitigate the use of transactional sex as a response to negative shocks. In a field experiment in Kenya, half of the over 600 vulnerable women participants were randomly assigned a savings intervention that consists of opening a mobile banking savings account labeled for emergency expenses and individual goals. They find that the intervention led to an increase in total mobile savings, reductions in transactional sex as a risk-coping response to shocks, and a decrease in symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
As the evidence of mobile money’s ability to improve financial access continues to grow, some in the development community are exploring whether a new wave of digital innovation, including digital currencies and blockchain technology, can play a similar role. To date, however, only a small number of start-ups using these technologies have been able to develop profitable business models, while others have struggled to overcome some of the same hurdles faced by more traditional financial actors. For this reason, some are skeptical that these new technologies will significantly improve financial inclusion. This event, which is co-hosted by the Center for Global Development and World Bank’s Blockchain Lab, will bring together policy experts working on the forefront of financial inclusion and technology, along with the CEO of BitPesa, a company that uses blockchain technology to facilitate payments between Africa and the rest of the world. The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing start-ups seeking to use blockchain technology to expand financial access in emerging and frontier markets. CGD Policy Fellow Michael Pisa will moderate the discussion.
In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in improving the treatment and prevention of diseases, resulting in millions of lives saved around the world. While some of this progress is due to economic growth, aid from several bilateral, multilateral, and philanthropic donors has made important contributions to reducing the global burden of disease. In this seminar, Alec Morton will present new research focusing on decision rules to guide how donors should allocate aid money given that resources are limited.
With more than 145 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 65 million people forcibly displaced, growing risks of climate-driven natural hazards, food insecurity on the rise and four countries struggling to stave off famine, the global humanitarian system faces exceptional challenges. As needs outstrip funding, it is clear that traditional ways of doing business will not suffice. These global crises cannot be addressed without rethinking the link between humanitarian response and development assistance. CGD is delighted to welcome Mark Lowcock, less than two months into his new position as the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. As the UN system’s lead for global relief activities, he is charged with coordinating how humanitarian agencies respond and work together to address global emergencies. After delivering remarks, he will join CGD president Masood Ahmed to discuss successes, challenges, priorities, and reforms for the global humanitarian system in a time of urgent and growing need.
CGD, in partnership with the World Bank Group, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Omidyar Network, is delighted to host Nandan Nilekani, the founding chairman of UIDAI (Aadhaar), the unique identification system of India, which has enrolled more than a billion people. Nilekani will speak on “Societal Platforms: A Cambrian Approach to Sustainable Development”—how we can distill principles from the unique architecture of Aadhaar to develop new platforms, like EkStep, that can enable people to access an increasingly wide array of transformative services.