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.
Rajesh Mirchandani came to CGD from BBC News, where he garnered more than two decades’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster, reporting and anchoring from around the world for the BBC’s global television and radio networks, including BBC World News and the World Service. He has covered a wide range of stories and issues, from two US presidential elections to the Haiti earthquake, AIDS in India to oil exploration in the Arctic, education for displaced children in Colombia to green energy investments in California. He previously won two awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for his work during six years as a BBC North America correspondent.
Mirchandani brings a passion for international development and climate change issues—and says his most rewarding journalistic assignments were stories of solutions to development problems. He is regularly invited to participate at high-level events around issues such as the post-2015 agenda, girls’ empowerment, and changing media landscapes. In 2012 he completed an MA in public diplomacy at USC in Los Angeles, where he focused on communication strategies of state and nonstate actors, and the power of social movements as agents of change.
CGD experts Michael Clemens and Gaurav Khanna look at high- and low-skilled workers from three countries across several decades. Different studies, different perspectives—but all pointing at the same thing: immigrants have an overwhelmingly net positive effect on the US economy.
What are the economic, political, and technological risks to future global growth and stability? This complex question was the topic of a recent conversation between IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and CGD’s president Masood Ahmed. This week’s podcast is an edited version of their conversation.
What are the economic, political, and technological risks to future global growth and stability? This complex question was the topic of a recent CGD event, which featured a conversation between IMF's managing director Christine Lagarde and CGD’s president Masood Ahmed. This week's podcast is an edited version of their conversation.
The event took place just as the IMF revealed its latest World Economic Outlook. Its forecast for annual global growth in the coming years is relatively unchanged at around 3.5 percent—but what has changed, Lagarde said, is the “source and balancing of growth” around the world, with an upgrading of forecasts for Asia, Continental Europe and Canada, but lower projections for the US and UK. The picture for Sub-Saharan Africa is also cause for concern, as Lagarde and Ahmed discussed during the event.
They also talked about ways to address the concerns of people who have been “left behind” by development progress. For the Lagarde, that means “number one, telling the truth about what the likely consequences are of certain policies. … You have to start with that, and then allocate the resources and decide the policies that will actually help.”
Check out the podcast at the top of this page, and watch the full event on our website.
At a London conference earlier this month, some donors promised generous funding for family planning services in developing countries. At the same time, however, future support from the US is in doubt, and progress towards the FP2020 family planning goals has been extremely limited. Just how much progress have we made, and how far do we have to go? What difference will the new pledges make, and how should they be used? Rachel Silverman, CGD’s assistant director of global health policy, responds to these questions in this week’s podcast.
The issue of family planning has been high on the international agenda recently. Earlier this month, London hosted a pledging conference where some donors promised generous funding for efforts to increase access to and education around family planning services in developing countries.
At the same time, however, there is increasing uncertainty about future support from the US, which has historically been one of the biggest donors. There is also growing concern about the world’s limited progress towards the family planning goals that were agreed upon in 2012, through the international framework known as FP2020.
Just how much progress have we made, and how far do we have to go? What difference will the new pledges make, and how should they be used? “There’s an opportunity to use the funds to plug some of those holes, but it will depend on how they’re managed and allocated,” Rachel Silverman, CGD’s assistant director of global health policy, tells me in this week’s podcast.
One priority, Silverman says, is to help donors “work together to make sure the funding is directed in a coordinated way towards the areas of most need, the areas where the funding can go the furthest.” Recommendations on how to do just that can be found in CGD’s recent report Aligning to 2020, and you can learn more about how to get the best health value for your money in CGD’s forthcoming book What’s In, What’s Out.
In the meantime, click below to hear more of Silverman’s thoughts on the subject and check out the full podcast at the top of this page.
The US agricultural sector is critical to global food security. American farmers account for 25 percent of all corn and wheat exported globally, and the US is the largest foreign aid donor providing assistance to, among other things, improve food production in many developing countries.
Yet, at the same time, many of the US’s agricultural policies can negatively impact people in the rest of the world. In a new book entitled Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for US Leadership, CGD visiting fellow Kim Elliott argues for practical policy reforms in three areas that are particularly damaging to developing countries: food aid, biofuel subsidies, and antibiotic resistance in livestock.
As the US Congress works through a major new farm bill, Elliott joins the CGD Podcast to discuss how the US can reform agricultural policy to achieve better outcomes.
“The Trump budget actually zeroes out the main food aid program,” Elliott tells me in the podcast. “So that seems to me to open up a space for Congress to say, ‘Well, we recognize there are some inefficiencies. But let’s fix it, not end it.”
Click below to hear some of Elliott’s recommendations, and check out the full podcast at the top of this page.
The US agricultural sector is critical to global food security, but many of the policies that currently govern it negatively impact people around the world. In a new book, CGD visiting fellow Kim Elliott argues for practical policy reforms in three areas that are particularly damaging to developing countries: food aid, biofuel subsidies, and antibiotic resistance in livestock. As the US Congress works through a major new farm bill, Elliott joins the CGD Podcast to discuss how the US can reform agricultural policy to achieve better outcomes.
What impact does corruption have on development, and what’s the best way to stamp it out? In a new book called Results, Not Receipts, CGD senior fellow Charles Kenny offers a way to strengthen the case for aid and reduce corruption at the same time: focus on outcomes, rather than inputs.
In 2016 on the CGD Podcast, we have discussed some of development's biggest questions: How do we pay for development? How do we measure the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? What should we do about refugees and migrants? And is there life yet in the notion of globalism?
And we have heard from some major international figures, including two former presidents—Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Joyce Banda of Malawi—Jim Kim, Christine Lagarde, Lawrence Summers, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as several major development organization heads, private sector representatives, government officials from around the world, and leading academics and thinkers—including, of course, many of CGD’s own experts.
In early 2017, the CGD podcast will discuss how best to conduct impact evaluations with Rachel Glenerster of J-PAL and our own Bill Savedoff; we will think about how digital technology impacts development with Raj Kumar of Devex; and we will ask if development finance institutions like the US’ OPIC and the UK’s CDC are the best way to pay for development, with their respective heads Elizabeth Littlefield and Diana Noble. Look out also for podcasts about major CGD work, including new ideas to better help refugees in long-running emergencies; the problems of trying to measure corruption; how biometric identification can help achieve several of the SDGs; and how Britain’s trade policy can make the most of Brexit.
I do hope you will stay tuned in 2017—and please share the podcasts and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe here or on iTunes. As ever, I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Thanks to Stephanie Brown, who produces all our podcasts—and to you for listening.
In our first podcast of the new year and my first podcast as new host, I speak with CGD's president Nancy Birdsall on her expectations for 2015 as they relate to global development. We cover growing inequality, the marquee moments for development in 2015, and Nancy makes the case for optimism on the post-2015 development agenda. Have a listen.
The seed of today’s podcast was planted back in April 2014. That’s when Nigeria made a statistical change to the way it calculates its GDP. Overnight, Nigeria’s GDP estimate shot up by 89%, making it the biggest economy in Africa.
Dr. Yemi Kale, statistician general at the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria, led the team that made that startling revision. Some say Nigeria’s experience highlights how poor the state of African data was – a statistical tragedy in Africa, as one leading economist put it. Is it still? Or is there a statistical reawakening on the continent, as suggested in a paper by Dr. Kale and Professor Morten Jerven of Simon Fraser University. They both joined me for this podcast.
Give a man a fish, the old adage runs, and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever. Professor Chris Blattman doesn’t think we should do either.
“We’re saying don’t give a man a fish. Don’t teach a man to fish. Give them the capital to decide, first of all, whether they want to be a fisherman or something else. And if they want to be a fisherman, they can use that capital to decide, do they need a rod, do they need someone to teach them how to fish.”
As a folkloric distillation of fundamental truth, it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but Blattman sums it up this way: “People seem to be able to make wise decisions.”
In a recent paper by Blattman and Laura Ralston of the World Bank, the fish/rod/capital example is exchanged for the question of whether creating jobs for people is effective in bringing about peace, stability and prosperity in conflict-affected or fragile states. They argue that it is a link that policymakers often play up, but that “these links – from labor market and entrepreneurship interventions to actual employment, and from employment to stability – are based first on faith, second on theory, and last on evidence.” Take a look here:
Blattman, a non-resident fellow at CGD, recently came into our offices discuss this paper and to record an edition of the CGD Podcast. His conclusion is simple: “I don’t like to say training programs are hard to get right but capital-centric programs are hard to get wrong.”
You can watch the full video of the CGD Podcast here or download the audio above. Please forgive us for the audio quality which was the result of a technical problem. As ever your thoughts are very welcome in the comments section below.
The Trump administration's signature policy proposal to control immigration more tightly has been the most contentious issue of the early days of this presidency. In this podcast we seek to add some facts to the debate.
Businesses have unique opportunities to help refugees and improve their bottom line at the same time, says CGD senior policy fellow Cindy Huang. All they need is the right policy framework. Get the highlights from Huang’s latest report, Global Business and Refugee Crises, a collaboration with the Tent Foundation.
Current president Sir Suma Chakrabarti is seeking a second four-year term as EBRD president, and he faces the challenge of Marek Belka, a former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland and currently president of the country’s National Bank.
Recently both candidates recorded interviews with me, which we have edited together into this edition of the CGD Podcast, allowing you to directly compare their responses. For the sake of brevity, we edited down some of the answers, but in the interests of transparency we have also posted both full interviews with Chakrabarti and Belka. If you want to read the candidates’ CVs and their statements, you can find them via the EBRD’s site here.
Our purpose was to explore each candidate’s ideas for the future of the EBRD, given the changing nature of its work and the landscape of development banking. Established exactly 25 years ago to help post-Soviet countries in Eastern Europe transition to market-based economies, the EBRD’s geographical range now stretches from Morocco to Mongolia. Unique among the multilateral development banks (MDBs), the EBRD has a political mandate to assist only those countries that are ‘committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy [and] pluralism.’ In addition, CGD’s current work on the future of multilateral development banking raises further questions for EBRD candidates about the role of MDBs in tackling the growing shared problems the world faces, from climate change to pandemic response.
A note about logistics. The interviews were carried out separately, due to conflicting schedules. Each candidate was asked the same questions, although follow-ups differed, depending on their answers. The questions were grouped into categories as follows:
Scale of EBRD’s operations
EBRD’s political mandate and the nature of its work
EBRD’s relationship with Russia, its biggest client
Relationships with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) including the AIIB
Future of multilateral development banking
Final question: why should you be EBRD president?
Candidates were told the categories beforehand, but not the questions.
We arrived at the list of questions and categories with the help of CGD experts, including president Nancy Birdsall and senior fellow Scott Morris (who are leading our High Level Panel on the Future of Multilateral Banking), and Owen Barder, vice president and director of CGD Europe, in London, where the EBRD is also based. In 2012, during the last EBRD presidential search, Owen conducted podcasts with all the candidates, and the EBRD was only too happy for us to play a similar role this time around.
The EBRD’s governors (comprising its shareholders – 65 countries plus the European Union and the European Investment Bank) will vote for the next president at the annual meeting in London on May 11.
Kudos to Finland for ascending to the top spot in CGD’s 2016 Commitment to Development Index, our ranking of how a country’s policies help or hinder development. Most of the policies that score well on the index require some sort of international cooperation—so what does the CDI tell us about the apparent retreat of globalism across the political landscape? I discuss the latest rankings, their implications, and the politics that could affect them with Owen Barder, senior fellow and director of CGD Europe, which produces the Index.