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Janeen Madan Keller is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, focusing on global health issues. Since joining CGD in June 2015, her research has covered a range of topics including global health financing and aid effectiveness, among others. Previously, she spent two years in Dakar, Senegal, where she worked with the UN World Food Program supporting nutrition and food security programs across West Africa. She has also worked with UNICEF in Mali and conducted research on health behavior change in Niger. Originally from Mumbai, India, she holds an MS in public health nutrition and food security from Tufts University and a BA with honors in political science and French from Vassar College.
Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) likely to play a significant role in tackling malnutrition and reducing poverty in Africa? Our short answer is "it depends." In a new CGD policy paper and brief, we examine the evidence and conclude that currently available GMOs are of limited relevance for most developing countries, especially in Africa.
The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been raging for twenty years and there is still more heat than light around the topic. While some developing countries have embraced the technology, much of Africa has followed the European Union’s precautionary approach. While not a panacea, GMOs could be part of a new green revolution in Africa if governments address the policy and institutional weaknesses that prevented Africa from participating in the first one, and if GM technology continues to develop.
The world will struggle to achieve the goals of ending extreme poverty and hunger by 2030 unless there is a sharp increase in agricultural productivity in Africa. Across sub-Saharan Africa, most people live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihoods; most of them are poor and many are hungry. Could genetically modified organisms (GMOs) help to address some of the causes contributing to Africa’s lagging agricultural productivity? Our answer is a qualified maybe.
Ethiopia is facing one of the worst droughts in decades, a painful reminder that food security challenges remain despite low food prices globally. Feed the Future—the Obama Administration’s global food security initiative—has been supporting Ethiopia and 18 other focus countries with projects that aim to boost farmer productivity and improve nutrition. How has the initiative performed in its first five years?
If Africa’s smallholder farmers are going to lift themselves out of poverty, they need access to formal financial services instead of the unstable, inflexible, informal arrangements that they currently rely on and that keep them poor. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Janeen Madan review the ways in which digital technology is changing how financial services are delivered and made affordable. With the right investments and policies, farmers will be able to access credit, savings accounts, insurance, payment platforms, and other financial products that allow them to invest in their livelihoods without being exposed to exploitation or untenable risks.
The most essential feature of a social impact bond (SIB) is measuring impact. But what happens if the impact metric is questioned or unclear? A recent dispute over measuring the impact of a SIB for early childhood development in Utah yields two important practical lessons for this innovative financing tool. First, SIB implementers should be careful not to exaggerate the precision of their success indicators. Second, they need to be clear to everyone about which objectives they are pursuing.
In 2006, CGD published a working group report that addressed the insufficient number of rigorous impact evaluations of social programs in low- and middle-income countries. Last week —marking 10 years since the report’s release—CGD and J-PAL co-hosted the event, “Improving Development Policy through Impact Evaluation,” which echoed three key messages of the 2006 report: 1) conduct more and better evaluations; 2) connect evaluators and policymakers; and 3) recognize that impact evaluations are an important global public good that requires more unconstrained funding.
How can the world find realistic, workable solutions to bridge the divide between humanitarian response and development assistance? This question was front and center at a high-level discussion, co-hosted by CGD and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in the run up to last week’s Spring Meetings. The event marked the launch of a new CGD-IRC report, which puts forth one emerging solution to the refugee crisis—compact agreements between host governments and development and humanitarian actors. The discussion featured three global leaders on the frontline of today’s displacement challenge: Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and IRC President and CEO David Miliband. Here are three takeaways.
Without global action, by 2050 there could be as many as 10 million antimicrobial resistance-related deaths each year. An important—and often overlooked—part of the problem is the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals. CGD recently convened a roundtable discussion with technical experts to discuss possible ways to strengthen global cooperation to address livestock’s contribution to AMR. Drawing on that productive discussion, we outline steps that could help make inroads into the problem.
Feed the Future has succeeded in bringing much needed attention to the pressing challenge of food security. But there is still plenty of room for improvement, particularly when it comes to encouraging country ownership and increasing transparency.
McDonald's has just gone global with its commitment to serve chicken free from antibiotics that are critically important to human health. Building on a similar phase-out in its US chicken supply in 2016, the company will ban critical antibiotic use from sourced chicken in a handful of high-income countries and Brazil in 2018, expanding to a longer list of “designated markets” by 2027. That's evidence of both the potential to reduce global antibiotic use in livestock and the vital role consumers can play in speeding progress.
What can we say about the relative size and composition of health commodity markets across different countries? We took a stab at piecing together publicly available data sources to find an initial answer for low- and middle-income countries as part of the background work to inform the CGD Working Group on the Future of Global Health Procurement.
Last month, CGD hosted four former directors of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health to reflect on their experiences, which spanned US administrations from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. (You can watch the event here). Below, we highlight three main takeaways— the critical role of technical leadership, the importance of data, and the need to start with the end in mind when planning for successful transitions.