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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.

 

Massive Corruption Revisited: The Value of Portfolio Estimates

Corruption in aid programs is a cyclical topic. Every scandal generates headlines, political reaction, tighter controls and then, usually, silence until the next scandal erupts. Such cycles are not helpful and we never really find out if such corruption is large and systematic or small and isolated.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Congressional Bipartisanship for Developing Countries

Given the harsh tone and general gridlock in the U.S. Congress of late, one might think that signs of bipartisanship and ‘getting things done’ would be welcome, but not always.  We caught a glimpse this week of the good, bad and ugly in congressional activities surrounding the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants duty-free treatment to most imports from sub-Saharan Africa , and the U.S. farm bill.

Fresh Ideas for New U.S. Ambassador to Haiti

Update: On March 29, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pamela White to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.

Assuming she is confirmed by the Senate, Pamela White is set to become the next U.S. ambassador to Haiti. In her March 14 confirmation hearing, White and the senators agreed on one message: Haiti’s unstable government is impeding post-earthquake recovery, including U.S. aid efforts. But White could consider alternative approaches—from migration policy to mobile money—that might do more to help Haitians right now.

The Farm Bill Saga Begins (Again): Will Development Be on the Stage, in the Wings, or out of Luck?

Many in the development research and advocacy communities engaged heavily in the mid-2000s debate over what became the 2008 farm bill and were sorely disappointed with the outcome. At that time, the push for farm bill reform was part of a broader campaign to push the Doha Development Agenda round of international trade negotiations to a successful conclusion, including by sharply reducing the levels of trade-distorting support that rich countries provide to their farmers.

Africa on K Street: Lobbying Is Not Restricted to the Developed World

This is a joint post with Julie Walz.

The aid community is well-accustomed to pushing for transparency in foreign aid transactions. But are we missing another key flow of money?

A recent article by Geoffrey York, African bureau chief for the Globe and Mail, described a contract signed a few years ago by the Government of Rwanda with Racepoint Group, which was tasked with doing an image make-over for the Rwandan government for a monthly fee of over $50,000. The rationale was that public perceptions of Rwanda were dominated by the horrific genocide that occured in the 1990s, along with accounts of human rights abuses and media censorship. The contract with Racepoint reportedly aimed to increase the number of stories of Rwanda’s successes and block criticism of the government and its alleged human rights abuses. The effort landed more than 100 positive articles per month in newspapers from the New York Times to BBC, increased discussions of travel to Rwanda by 183%, and decreased discussion of the genocide by 11%, according to Racepoint.

2012 SOTU: Bingo Win, Development Defeat

Expectations for a global development focus in President Obama’s State of the Union address were low. Still, more than 130 policy wonks gathered at the Commissary watering hole and eatery in Logan Circle to play CGD State of the Union bingo and many were pleasantly surprised that they could mark off a number of development-related words on their bingo cards.

Fast or "Farce"? Whither India's Anti-Corruption Movement?

When I last blogged about India's recent anti-corruption groundswell, a loose coalition of NGOs and citizens led by social activist Anna Hazare had just scored a crucial victory in the ongoing struggle to curb corruption in the world’s largest democracy.  For months Anna's India Against Corruption movement (dubbed “Team Anna” by the press) had engaged in agitations meant to pressure the government of India in

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