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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.

 

Nigeria unloads Paris Club debt: What next?

On April 21 Nigeria made its final buyback payment to its bilateral creditors, completing the wipe-out of more than 80% of its debts. In the end, Nigeria paid $12 billion in cash -- out of the more than $34 billion saved so far from higher oil prices -- in order to buy back $30 billion in debt, an overall 60% discount.

What's Wrong With the Commitment to Development Award List?

A quick scan of the "People's Choice" nominees for the Commitment to Development Award gives the impression that the individuals from developed countries who have done the most to make rich-world policies more "development-friendly" are from a pretty narrow slice of the population. Mostly U.S., all male, many "inside-the-beltway" -- an environment not known for its friendliness to anything, much less poor people in poor countries. So what's going on?

Progress on human rights in Turkmenistan? Give me a break

On April 14 the Washington Post carried an editorial criticizing European policy makers for their efforts to give Turkmenistan Most Favored Nation trade status. As the Post points out, the European Commission’s argument that “Most Favored Nation” status is justified by “positive steps” on human rights is simply not tenable. Turkmen president Niyazov’s cult-of-personality rule and systematic economic mismanagement is robbing the country of its future.

Nigerian debt deal: Almost done, if not yet home free

The IMF announced today that it has completed its review of Nigeria’s policy support instrument (PSI). The Fund was laudatory, including a quote from first deputy MD Anne Krueger:

“Looking ahead, the authorities are committed to continue the ambitious macroeconomic and structural policies to entrench macroeconomic stability, strengthen public financial management, and reduce the costs of doing business further”

Is new Asia becoming old Europe on the labor front?

There is an old French maxim that says, if you can't fire a worker, don't hire him. Asia seems to be learning French. The widespread "push-back" against earlier abuses of labor rights by non-democratic regimes is producing a host of well-intentioned labor market interventions throughout Asia that risk undermining the region’s greatest asset: it’s abundant and affordable labor. In Indonesia, for example, minimum wages have risen three-fold since 1998 and a number of local governments are actively competing to see who can have the highest minimum wage.

More bad news for oil transparency in Congo-Brazzaville

According to Reuters, two anti-corruption campaigners have been arrested in Congo-Brazzaville, allegedly for embezzling funds. If true, it is disturbing that people tasked with overseeing fiscal transparency are themselves involved in fraud, and bodes poorly for Congo’s chances of breaking its cycle of wasting public money.

Class Act: The UK Invests in Global Education

Think about the plight of many of the poorest countries in the world: Governments may know that long-term national prosperity depends on getting children into school, teaching them well, and keeping them there until they’ve mastered reading, writing and arithmetic. But the social returns aren’t likely to come for more than a decade, when the six-year-olds of today enter the labor market.

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