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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Is Haiti Doomed to be the Republic of NGOs?

This is a joint post with Julie Walz.

Two years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, plunging an already poor and unstable country into complete and utter chaos. In the days and weeks that followed, international responses and donations were overwhelming. Yet almost all of the assistance provided to Haiti has bypassed its government, leaving it even less capable than before. Humanitarian agencies, NGOs, private contractors, and other non-state service providers have received 99 percent of relief aid—less than 1 percent of aid in the immediate aftermath of the quake went to public institutions or to the government. And only 23 percent of the longer-term recovery funding was channeled through the Haitian government. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of relief aid from all donors to Haiti, by recipient.

Libya: Can Oil and Democracy Mix?

Libya’s oil puts at risk its hopes of becoming a democracy.  If easy oil money is captured by a few people, and they then control politics, Libya will end up  looking more like Angola and less like Norway. 

Democracy and Development: The Spread of Biometric Voter Rolls

This post is joint with Caroline Decker

The application of biometrics to promote development and democratization is proceeding rapidly in the developing world—and largely below the radar of the media and development experts in high-income countries. Monitoring press releases on biometrics with the help of a news Google alert, I’ve been struck by the astonishing spread of this technology for use in voter registration in developing countries... Nepal, Zambia, Ghana, to name just three and ongoing cases.

Related Working Paper

Cash at Your Fingertips: Biometric Technology for Transfers in Developing and Resource-Rich Countries

Most recently, Gabon announced plans to introduce a biometric voter roll in advance of the next election: the opposition parties have been urging this for years. The election is due in December 2011, but the President is to seek a court ruling on its deferral to 2012 to allow for the orderly introduction of biometrics. The proposal has been supported by a group of NGOs and associations, as well as the Secretary General of one of the main opposition parties. Bolivia provides an example of what can be done to increase political inclusion. Over 5 million people were enrolled in 2009 within a period of 76 days by some 3,000 enrolment stations, increasing the voter roll by an astonishing 2 million people. The main drivers were the opposition parties, which were reluctant to contest an election with the old, discredited, roll. The exercise was very successful, in the assessment by the Carter Center.

Corruption Threatens to Undermine Climate Action - Transparency International

The latest Global Corruption Report from Transparency International (TI), launched May 5 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, tackles corruption and climate change. The message is stark: without better governance, transferring funds to developing countries to combat climate change could go awry. This would mean even less progress cutting the emissions of planet-heating gases, a squandering of scarce climate funds, and an intensified risk of dangerous, runaway climate change.

The United States Can Give Better Aid to Haiti

This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post

Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.

But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.

After the Plane Bomber, Where in the World is Nigeria's President?

This entry was also posted on the Huffington Post, AllAfrica, and Sahara Reporters.

Amid all the media frenzy around the Nigerian underwear bomber and how America should have stopped him before he tried to blow up a passenger plane on Christmas Day, a critical piece to the counter-terrorism puzzle seems to have been missed: where in the world is the Nigerian President?

Attack on The Oil Curse in Nigeria!

Nigeria is proposing to transfer a 10 percent stake in the national oil company to delta communities; citizens of the delta would then be entitled to cash benefits, delivered through a trust-type mechanism. Read about it here.

That would be a real live breakthrough on a good idea proposed in CGD papers for Iraq and Ghana.

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