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CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Two women buying phones at a phone store

Navigating New Frontiers for Women’s Financial Inclusion: Data and Harmonization in a Digital World

The world of digital financial services (DFS)—mobile money, mobile banking, digital payment platforms, and FinTechs—is the new frontier for financial inclusion. But what does this frontier mean for women—and how can we navigate it using harmonized gender data? Starting with the G7 gender ministerial later this week,  several high-level meetings in the next six months provide an opportunity for the international community to begin addressing that question by setting a common gender data agenda—a necessary step if DFS are to help close the financial inclusion gender gap.

A teacher on strike in Chicago in 2012. Photo by Brad Perkins via Wikimedia

What Makes a Politician Tackle Education?

Josef Ritzen, the Netherlands’ education minister for eight years before he joined the World Bank, once told me: “The view of a prime minister is that an education minister only brings problems. There’s nothing he or she can do to improve quality that has a political upside. So, most ministers try to do nothing.” Ritzen’s recent successors have learned this lesson the hard way with public outcry over heightened math admission requirements for teacher training colleges that have led to a teacher shortage and larger classes. So far, the government has stood firm, convinced that students cannot truly master math without excellent teaching. But the education reform shoe is pinching.

A table showing tax revenue as a share of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa

Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilization: What are the Real Obstacles?

At the Center for Global Development, we recently initiated a project to develop more effective and equitable strategies for domestic resource mobilization in low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The impetus for the project is the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for financing development, which calls on developing countries to step up their efforts to collect more taxes domestically to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

A close-up of a student taking notes while sitting at a desk in a classroom

Lessons for a New Minister of Education from People Who’ve Had the Job

To reform an education system: what a task! How does one even begin? Start by talking to those who’ve done the work. In his new book, Letters to a New Minister of Education, Fernando Reimers has assembled letters of advice from 17 education leaders representing 11 countries. Here are five lessons that I took away.

ICAI grades for spending directly evaluated (Depts reviewed and >1% UK aid)

How Effective Is UK Aid? Assessing the Last 8 Years of Spending

In our new policy paper, we take advantage of the fact that the impact of UK aid is independently assessed by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI). Looking back over 8 years and 65 graded assessments, even with a focus on riskier projects, we find that almost 80 percent of UK aid assessed was well spent. With a spending review on the horizon, HM Treasury will be looking closely at departmental performance and should use ICAI’s findings to shape their allocations. 

Cape Town at morning rush hour

Anarchy Undelivered

Twenty-five years ago, travel writer and journalist Robert Kaplan wrote an article for The Atlantic, headlined “The Coming Anarchy.” It was an apocalyptic account of Kaplan’s visit to West Africa and his dark vision that much of the world would end up looking like war-torn Sierra Leone. Kaplan suggested recently that he thought “The Coming Anarchy” had stood the test of time. I disagree, and think the fact that Kaplan was wrong matters: global jeremiads are a force for isolationism. I discussed why with The Atlantic’s Matthew Peterson on a new podcast.  

 

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