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Dennis de Tray, a former senior World Bank official who became CGD vice president on Feb. 1, has urged the Bank to maintain a balanced perspective and exercise patience in the fight against corruption in developing countries.
Too bad for Harvard! Too bad for the elite university system in this country -- which appears to be the last bastion of insider resistance to reform. We at CGD note with regret the resignation of Lawrence Summers, a CGD Board member, from the presidency of Harvard University. I and several colleagues here worked closely with Larry at the World Bank and/or at the U.S. Treasury, where he brought inspiration, a commitment to policy dialogue, and eagerness to listen and build on varying views.
In testimony yesterday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a spirited and largely persuasive defense of the Administration’s FY06 Foreign Affairs budget of $35.1 billion. At a time of budgetary austerity (aside from DoD’s obscene and apparently untouchable half a trillion dollar budget) we owe kudos to Secretary Rice for securing OMB agreement on a 4% increase in spending on the State Department and foreign aid programs such as USAID.
In a Sunday Times of London report concerning a lavish jaunt to New York last fall to deliver a 15 minute speech at the UN, the spotlight was on Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. Recently chosen to chair the AU, it has been noted that the President of Congo-Brazzaville spent $295,000 for luxurious accommodations for him and his entourage at the Palace Hotel in New York City.
Seven British charities are campaigning for the UK not to accept any Nigerian repayment which was part of the Paris Club debt relief agreement reached in October. Their pleas to Gordon Brown, most recently in a new brief, are no doubt well-intentioned. But their attack on the deal is politically naive and ultimately misguided.
The recent attacks by Islamic fundamentalists on the Danish embassies in Lebanon and Syria can be called blind, tragic, even cartoonish. To that list of adjectives, add this one: ironic. According to the Commitment to Development Index, which rates rich countries on how much their government policies help or hurt poorer countries, no nation works harder than Denmark to help people in poorer parts of the world, including predominantly Muslim nations. Few less deserve this hatred.
Just a week after Fitch Ratings issued Nigeria’s first sovereign credit rating, Standard & Poor's followed suit this past Monday announcing its own rating for Africa’s most populous country. Both agencies assigned Nigeria a long-term foreign currency rating of ‘BB-‘.