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British Prime Minister David Cameron’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal lays out his anti-poverty vision. As my colleague Todd Moss notes, this type of serious, top-down and bottom-up debate about development issues doesn’t make the US look especially good by comparison.
While we are desperately trying to decode a strand of insight into US development policy in the Presidential debates, the British are having a full-throated debate about leadership on 21st-century global issues —and, frankly, making us look bad. In today’s Wall Street Journal, British Prime Minister David Cameron lays out his antipoverty vision in this op-ed. My three takeaways:
We can all agree that it’s unconscionable that, in 2012, there are still 1.3 billion people without access to electricity. But there’s also that pesky problem of greenhouse gases cooking our planet. So, the big question is: should we burn more fossil fuels like natural gas to help bring power to those without?
Kenya has instituted a new tax that affects users of M-Pesa -- a widely popular phone-based money transfer service used by more than half of Kenya’s adult population. The new 10 percent excise duty on fees charged for money transfer services applies to mobile phone providers, banks, and other money transfer agencies. Operated by Safaricom, the largest mobile network operator in Kenya, M-Pesa accounts for the largest share of users of money transfer services. Users of M-Pesa products will therefore bear most of the impact of the tax.
One thing we emphasized in the Karver/Kenny/Sumner paper on MDGs 2.0 was that the MDGs are far better remembered, and have been far more influential, than the rest of the Millennium Declaration from which they were drawn. We suggested that was because the MDGs were easy to understand, self-evidently important, numerical and time bound, and we called for any follow up goals to keep those vital features. That point seems to be widely agreed,
Documents recently made public by the UK government reveal the cost of poverty reduction in the Millennium Villages Project, a self-described "solution to extreme poverty" in African villages created by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The project costs at least US$12,000 per household that it lifts from poverty—about 34 times the annual incomes of those households.
Lately I’ve been thinking Nigeria should be a little bit more like, of all places, Iran. Yes, Iran. And maybe Alaska. Here’s how.
Africa’s most populous nation has been a massive underperformer since independence. It’s earned hundreds of billions of dollars from petroleum exports, but the average Nigerian has little to show for it. At least three decades were lost; average incomes in the mid-2000s were the same as in the mid-1970s. More recently, the economic data has been brighter. And there is always hope that the country has finally turned a corner.
A few days ago Bill Gates released his annual letter to the world, opening with a discussion of how Gates-funded agricultural research can help Tanzanian farmers. Coincidentally, before coming to CGD I did some agricultural research in Tanzania myself -- funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- so I was eager to compare notes. Gates’ letter is so optimistic about agricultural innovation lifting Tanzanian farmers out of poverty, it feels almost impolite to point out that the main sou