Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.


How Quickly Are Countries Progressing Toward the MDGs? A New Interactive Web-App from CGD

This is a joint post with Ross Thuotte.

The United Nations recently published the 2011 World Economic Situation and Prospects report, which asserts that Sub-Saharan Africa, and possibly parts of South Asia, are off-track for halving extreme poverty levels by 2015. This must sound alarmingly dire and discouraging for those laboring long and hard to reduce poverty rates in countries within these regions.

But this picture was painted by a highly simplistic brush. Despite doomsday generalizations, almost two-thirds of Sub-Saharan African countries are on-track (or nearly on-track) to halve poverty during the MDG period (1990-2015). A few of them – such as Ghana, Uganda, and Burkina Faso – are on the short-list of the highest-performing countries. These so-called MDG Trailblazers (both in Africa and beyond) are the subject of my recent CGD working paper.

Based on popular requests, we have launched a new interactive MDG web tool that visually represents each individual country’s progress towards the highly ambitious MDG targets.

Mapping Development Trends in Google N-Grams

A few days ago, Google put online a tool designed as a time-suck for the holiday season (HT to Marginal Revolution for the link).  Google N-gram viewer allows you to type in some search terms and it spits out how often those terms appear in Google Books by year of publication.  Google books now contains 5,195,769 digitized books –or about 4% of all books ever published—so that it’s a pretty powerful tool to monitor cultural trends.

President Bush’s Enduring Legacy

Bipartisanship made a reappearance in a most unlikely place last Wednesday – at the podium of the United Nations.  In his address to the United National Millennium Development Goals Summit, President Obama unveiled his “new” approach to development, emphasizing a focus on results, investing in countries committed to their own development through sound governance and democracy, tapping the forces of the economic growth through entrepreneurship and trade, and the need for mutual accountability between developed and developing countries.  In doing so, he followed precisely in the footsteps of

Can the UN Development Summit Handle Success?

Plenty in the blogosphere today (here and here) about the opening of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. With just five years to go, there is a lot of worrying about which countries can make it. Of course it’s probably too late to do much at this stage, no matter how much new money is spent.

At the United Nations MDG Summit: Don't Forget MDG 8 and Trade!

This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.

Later this month, world leaders will meet at the UN in New York City to discuss accomplishments and challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 target. While their discussions will cover a range of topics and strategies, summit participants should remember the importance of trade as a development tool.

Trade preference programs can encourage investment, promote prosperity and ultimately reduce poverty in the world’s least developed countries.

Are the MDGs Useful for Africa?

Good question as the world prepares for the September summit to assess progress. But this is a slightly odd debate here at The Africa Report. The UN Millennium Promise’s Charles Abugre Akelyira seems to think the MDGs are a rejection of economic policy reform: