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Masood Ahmed is president of the Center for Global Development. He joined the Center in January 2017, capping a 35-year career driving economic development policy initiatives relating to debt, aid effectiveness, trade, and global economic prospects at major international institutions including the IMF, World Bank, and DFID.
Ahmed joined CGD from the IMF, where he served for eight years as director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, earning praise from Managing Director Christine Lagarde as a "visionary leader." In that role, he oversaw the Fund's operations in 32 countries, and managed relationships with key national and regional policy makers and stakeholders. In previous years, he also served as the IMF's director of External Relations, and deputy director of the Policy Development and Review Department.
From 2003-2006, Ahmed served as director general, Policy and International at the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID). In that role, he was responsible for advising UK ministers on development issues and overseeing the UK's relationship with international development institutions such as the World Bank.
Ahmed also worked at the World Bank from 1979-2000 in various managerial and economist positions, rising to become Vice President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. In that role he led the HIPC (heavily indebted poor countries) debt relief initiative, which has to-date brought relief from debt burdens to 36 of the world's poorest nations.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Ahmed moved to London in 1971 to study at the LSE where he obtained a BSc Honors as well as an MSc Econ with distinction. He is a UK national.
Ahmed is a leading expert on Middle East economics, having served on the Advisory Board of the LSE Middle East Center, as well as on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Middle East and North Africa. He has also participated in CGD's Advisory Board.
He took over as CGD president from Nancy Birdsall, who served as the Center's founding president for its first 15 years from 2001 and will stay at the Center as a senior fellow.
What are the challenges and opportunities for growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region? In his presentation, Jihad Azour will present the IMF’s latest economic outlook for the MENAP region. He will argue that growth has not been fast enough and has not created sufficient opportunities to address high levels of unemployment. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the main impediments to growth and highlight the policy priorities to durably increase it and make it more inclusive.
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers will turn to an issue that affects women in rich and poor countries alike: the ability to make informed, voluntary, and autonomous choices about childbearing, and the implications of reproductive choice as a lever to expand women’s economic and life prospects. Until recently, there has been a lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the links between contraceptive access and women’s economic empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. The 2017 Birdsall House Conference will feature new findings on this relationship alongside existing evidence from the United States.
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.
This week, as world leaders meet in Washington, DC for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, they will be discussing ways to reduce global poverty and inequality. At the Center for Global Development we're addressing the question, what are the next frontiers in global development?
China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect countries that account for 60 percent of the world's people and 30 percent of global GDP. How can we make sure it produces real and lasting benefits for developing countries that are involved? At this special mini-summit, co-hosted by CGD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, we will bring together global leaders, including governments, multilateral development finance institutions and private banks to identify and discuss practical considerations for BRI partners, as well as challenges and solutions.
Each year, as ministers gather from all corners of the world for the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Washington DC resounds with a cacophony of differing perspectives on future prospects, like a giant, multinational orchestra tuning up. Yet this time, in both public and private gatherings, with both developed and developing country dignitaries, as well as leading technocrats from the international financial institutions, one refrain kept recurring, defining the mood of the whole symphony. I would summarize it as 'The numbers are looking better, so why don't I feel good about them?'
Commitment to Development Index Ranks World’s Richest Countries on How Well Their Domestic Policies Improve Lives in the Developing World
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WASHINGTON – Today, the Center for Global Development announced that Sweden claimed the #1 spot in the Commitment to Development Index, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries by how well their policies help improve lives in the developing world.
The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) is released annually by the Center for Global Development. It is a quantitative, broad based analytical tool that measures contributions in seven policy areas: aid (both quantity as a share of national income, and quality), finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration. Within each component, countries are measured on how their domestic policies and actions support poor countries in their efforts to build prosperity, good governance, and security.
“Good development policy is about much more than foreign aid,” said Masood Ahmed, the president of the Center for Global Development. “While aid is important, policymakers in rich countries need to assess all the ways their choices, from refugee policies to intellectual property rights, help or hinder developing countries.”
In this year’s Index, Sweden edged out Denmark (which led the index last year). Sweden’s top performance was driven by excellent scores on foreign aid, environment, trade, and migration. It also led all 27 countries in the migration ranking, with a high share of refugees and strong policies to help integrate migrants.
You can view the full 2018 rankings at www.cgdev.org/cdi.
“Domestic policies can have a major impact on other nations around the world – both intended and not,” said Ian Mitchell, a senior fellow and the report’s author. “Sweden sets a great example on its approach to environment and has migration policies that benefit migrants, Sweden, and developing nations alike, but Sweden’s work isn’t finished. As new global challenges emerge, we hope Sweden will continue to put in place domestic policies that improve outcomes in the developing world.”
Other findings from this year’s results include:
For the first time a G-7 country, Germany, clinched a place in the top three, overtaking France and just behind the Nordic powerhouses Sweden and Denmark.
The U.S. ranked 23rd in this year’s Index, while European countries dominate the top spots.
Australia surged up 4 spots in this year’s Index.
The Netherlands takes the top spot in the trade rankings, and Japan rises 10 slots.
Learn more about the rankings and how countries performed at www.cgdev.org/cdi.
About the Methodology: The CDI is transparent about its method and data, with full details available at www.cgdev.org/cdi. All the data and calculations are published with full sources in a series of spreadsheets. The CDI uses an updated methodology each year, making improvements in the way we measure how policy impacts development. Year on year changes reported above can reflect new data, or an improved method, or both.