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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.

 
The U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office headquarters.

Why the UK Treasury’s Obsession with Targets Is Damaging for Development

After deciding that the UK can only afford to spend around £10 billion in aid, the Treasury is reportedly proposing further cuts in real aid spending solely to accommodate some unusual (but ODA-eligible) accounting items under the 0.5 percent target. These accounting items have no bearing on the affordability of, or expected benefits from, spending the initial £10 billion. In contrast to 2005, it seems the Treasury is about to let accounting anomalies dictate real-world decisions, and as a result, worthwhile programmes risk being cut for no other reason than to keep ODA constant as a percentage of GNI. There is no economic rationale for this, “difficult fiscal circumstances'' or otherwise

USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Power Play: USAID's Administrator Makes the Case for Global Engagement, More Focus on Effectiveness

USAID Administrator Samantha Power appeared before House and Senate authorizing committees late last week to discuss the agency’s FY22 budget. It wasn’t surprising to hear Administrator Power make a case for strong US global engagement—including robust aid investments and continued commitment to humanitarian response. But she also demonstrated—in a number of important ways—a clear-eyed focus on development effectiveness. Below we highlight several issues we were glad to see receive attention.  

A group of women smile outside a health center in Lanier, Senegal

Gender Data Systems: Better Data for All

Earlier this month, nearly 50,000 people from civil society organizations, governments, and corporations convened in Paris for the Generation Equality Forum to define and announce bold commitments to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment across the globe. This mostly virtual forum culminated in the launch of a global 5-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026 backed, for the first time ever, by significant financial resources. Forty billion dollars in new funding were committed over five years -- $23 billion by the public sector, $13 billion by the private sector, $4 billion by philanthropic organizations and $1.3 billion by UN entities. Now begins the hard work of spending these resources wisely and the even harder work of tracking expenditures and measuring their impact on the lives of women and girls everywhere.

A man lies in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face

Three New Estimates of Deaths in India during the Pandemic

The official Covid death count in India as of end-June 2021 is 400,000. The reality is, of course, catastrophically worse. Unlike in other countries, authoritative excess death estimates based on official data have not been available because government recording of deaths, especially at the center, has been lagging. In new research, we provide three different estimates of such excess deaths based on three different data sources, each requiring different assumptions and methodologies.

A graph of countries where debt service exceeds new disbursements on official debt

Visualizing the Debt Service Drag on Developing Country Governments

The G7 countries pledged a massive scale-up in support of developing-country financing at their recent summit in the UK. How it will be financed remains an open question. But analyzing trends in recent debt flows by lenders to developing countries, and taking stock of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), can provide some important lessons for the G7’s new ambitions.
An image of the skyline in Nairobi

How to Strengthen the Role of Pan-African Institutions Within the International Financial Architecture

In a recent joint piece, African and European leaders underscored the importance of strengthening the positions and roles of pan-African institutions within a new international financial architecture, reaffirming one of the four key goals of the summit on financing African economies held last May in Paris. What is the new international financial architecture? Which pan-African institutions are targeted and why should their role and positions be strengthened within it? How should Africa and its partners proceed to achieve this goal?
Figure showing repetition rates between 2020 and 2021 for different demographics. Across the board, rates have risen, except for students in private school

What Happened to Senegalese Students after the COVID-19 School Closure?

CGD in collaboration with the Centre de recherche pour le développement économique et social (CRDES) conducted a face-to-face survey at the national level to measure the adverse effects of the pandemic in schools and among Senegalese students. The survey took place in May 2021 with 984 households and 182 schools surveyed throughout the country. This blog post summarizes some of the key findings of the household survey.

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