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Perhaps the most surprising was how similar these scenes playing out in America are to those I’ve seen in Africa. To be sure, many of the factories I visited in Africa were smaller-scale and simpler in their operations than the Ohio glass plant in American Factory. But some Chinese-owned factories in Africa are similarly large-scale and technologically advanced, and no matter the size of the factory, I witnessed many of the same struggles to find cross-cultural understanding, to teach workers genuinely difficult skills, and to withstand the pressure of a highly competitive, global industry.
The World Development Report 2020 released on Wednesday highlights the economic benefits from GVCs and reminds us that protectionism and policy uncertainty around the world is now putting many of these benefits at significant risk.
In a customs union with the EU, the UK could pursue reforms in services liberalisation, Aid for Trade, investment promotion, labour standards and bilateral trade agreements, while maintaining EU tariffs on goods imports. This may be its best trade-for-development strategy after Brexit.
Last week, the British Parliament rejected the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement by a resounding 432 votes to 202, making the odds of a no-deal Brexit greater than ever. Having survived a motion of no-confidence, the government now has fewer than 70 days to devise an alternative exit plan that MPs will support. If it fails, then under Article 50, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement on 29 March.
Rumours have re-surfaced—perhaps as a result of Treasury kite-flying—that the Government is considering merging its international-facing Departments as part of the coming spending review. We’ve argued in the past that the best approach to development policy is through an integrated approach to aid, trade and foreign policy. But merging DFID into the FCO at this time would be likely to diminish the UK’s global influence, damage its development effectiveness, and work against the idea of Global Britain.
Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has been characterised as an unsavoury anti-globalist—so, will he unwind Brazil’s progress as a development actor over the last two decades? Below, I will highlight Brazil’s important contributions to international development, and argue that Bolsonaro’s best bid to eliminate corruption, restore trust in government institutions, and reinstate the country’s path of prosperity is to finalise Brazil’s OECD membership—becoming its second biggest member by population—while also strengthening partnerships and commitments to fast growing markets in the Global South.
As the global trade powerhouses lurch towards protectionism, CGD’s Commitment to Development Index, released today, reveals which advanced economies have trade policies that support—or fail to support—lower-income countries.
Today, we published the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) 2018, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on how well their policies help the more than five billion people living in poorer countries. European countries dominate this year’s CDI, occupying the top 12 positions in the Index and with Sweden claiming the #1 spot. Here, we look at what these countries are doing particularly well in the past year to support the world’s poor, and where European leaders can still learn from others.