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This is a joint post with Joel Meister and Matt Hoffman.
The May 11-12th meeting of the Clean Technology Fund’s Trust Fund Committee will consider a proposed $6-8 billion solar thermal power program for North Africa and the Middle East, according to the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds website. The concept note, Clean Technology Fund: Concept Note for a Concentrated Solar Power Scale-up Program in the Middle East and North Africa Region, cites CGD research on solar radiation potential in the region and is the most encouraging sign yet of CTF stakeholders’ commitment to clean energy development.
After raising expectations both on the Obama campaign trail and during the transition period that development would really not just rhetorically be a priority and an equal partner with diplomacy and defense in our national security apparatus, two notable actions occurred this week, just under the 100 day mark.
One hundred days into the Obama administration many in the development community are asking: where is the USAID administrator? Impatience is mounting for news of leadership on development policy and reform of U.S. foreign assistance. President Obama named his picks to lead defense and diplomacy—Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton—well before he took office.
This post originally appeared on the CGD's Global Health Policy blog. The impact of this pandemic flu outbreak has little to do with pigs. And a lot to do with people. Every time there is a global flu epidemic, we seem to want to blame it on something. In 1918 we called it the Spanish flu, though Spaniards had nothing to do with it. For the last few years we blamed it on birds, calling it the “avian flu” as if it were the birds’ fault. Now we’re blaming it on pigs, by calling it the “swine flu”. In an effort to appease the public, several countries have banned the import of pork! None of this makes any sense. When was the last time you saw a sneezing pork chop?
When I was writing my book, Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor, I came across a 2004 poll showing that Americans, including in farm states, support subsidies only for small farmers and only in bad years. Last week, another poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland was released showing that attitudes haven’t changed. The reality, as I discussed in my book, is that the top 20 percent of recipients receive 80 percent of all payments.
The global economic crisis presents a challenge and an opportunity to do better with U.S. assistance to Africa said CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health last week. Not surprisingly, doing better in Africa requires the same steps towards broad U.S.
After listening to Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s speech at the CGD-SAIS conference on April 23, I almost had to pinch myself: new lending instruments without conditionality and without pre-established limits? Stand-by agreements with social conditionality—that is, requirements designed to protect the poorest? These are very important steps for an institution, which until recently, developing countries saw as the “bad cop” for decades.
I had the privilege of speaking at Dambisa Moyo’s first Washington DC event, held recently at the Cato Institute (watch the webcast here). Her book Dead Aid is a full-frontal attack on aid to Africa (and has attracted an extraordinary amount of media attention). As much of my own work has been highly critical of the aid business, it was somewhat unusual (and a little awkward) to find myself mostly defending foreign aid.