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A few month's ago, Ruth Levine recommended that I read Steve Berkman’s book “The World Bank and the Gods of Lending” and yesterday I had the chance to listen over the phone while he gave an informal talk about it at the Center for Global Development.
Nigeria is proposing to transfer a 10 percent stake in the national oil company to delta communities; citizens of the delta would then be entitled to cash benefits, delivered through a trust-type mechanism. Read about it here.
That would be a real live breakthrough on a good idea proposed in CGD papers for Iraq and Ghana.
This is a joint posting with Sarah Jane Staats and also appeared on the Huffington Post
Amidst of a month of partisan battles on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nominee, healthcare and financial regulation, a new bill was introduced this week that rose above party lines: the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524). Senators Kerry, Lugar, Menendez, Corker, Risch and Cardin--three Democrats and three Republicans--introduced the bill as “a first step toward comprehensive reform of U.S. foreign assistance,” showing they are ready, willing and able to work with the administration on a set of deeper reforms.
Congress should focus U.S. foreign assistance on human and economic development to buttress vulnerable societies against the inevitable impacts of climate change, CGD senior fellow David Wheeler told members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment at a congressional hearing last week.
The U.S. House and Senate passed the $105.9 billion war supplemental last week, which includes $5 billion to secure $108 billion in additional lending by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Congress’s approval for increased IMF lending supports President Obama’s G20 commitments and paves the way to unlock the $1 trillion (mostly contributions from other high-income countries) for emerging and developing countries coping with the economic crisis.
In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade last week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argued that support for the G-20 commitments to increase lending resources at the IMF is a critical part of ensuring U.S. recovery from the economic crisis and global prosperity and security. She was, however, confronted with a host of concerns about whether multilateral lending would go to governments like Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and with one member of Congress’s view that he “is a citizen of the United States, not the world.”
What would Barack Obama be like if he was still president in 2051? We would expect that despite whatever initial good intentions, that four decades in power would inevitably give way to entrenched corruption, mindless sycophancy, and probably destroy our democracy. Such an outcome is not only barred by the U.S. constitution, but sounds like an absurd question today.