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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 truth about Zimbabwe: A new flurry of media attention on Robert Mugabe

There seems to be a mini-revival of media interest in Zimbabwe, including in the U.S. where the country’s crisis rarely gets much attention. Last night PBS Frontline ran “Zimbabwe: Shadows and Lies”, a well done documentary exposing the growing tyranny and propaganda of the ruling regime. Journalist Alexis Bloom (repeating stunts previously done by BBC reporters since the government banned foreign media a few years ago) snuck into the country pretending to be a tourist and shot in secret.

CPIA Revealed: World Bank sheds more light on its country ratings

In a barely-noticed step, the World Bank has recently revealed a lot about what it thinks. While most donors are rushing to concentrate their aid in ‘good performers’, the World Bank has been using ‘performance based allocation’ in one form or another since the late 1970s. Every year, it systematically rates low income countries, giving each one a score on the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA).

Have We Made Poverty History?

It is nearly a year since the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations met in Gleneagles in Scotland against the background of a popular campaign for the rich nations to do more to reduce global poverty.  So it seems a good time to take stock of whether the commitments made at Gleneagles are being met.   Several new reports do just that:

U.S. suspends Ghana from aid program

Washington – The Bush administration today abruptly suspended financial assistance to Ghana through its new Millennium Challenge Account (MCC), indefinitely postponing the schedule for signing a new compact in July. News of the suspension came the day after Ghana’s 2-1 victory in the World Cup. MCC CEO John Danilovich said the suspension was not because of any failure on Ghana’s part in the traditional MCC focus areas of ruling justly, investing in people, and economic freedom. He said "It’s a new area of concern.

Is Microcredit Obsolete?

Several approaches to microfinance have been refined over the years, some lending to groups (as at the Grameen Bank), some to individuals (increasingly prevalent in Latin America). All seek to solve a business problem: how do you deliver small-scale financial services to the poor, in countries with weak infrastructure and human capital, while minimizing administrative costs? The various approaches to microcredit are what economists would call technologies: clever ways of producing a service that was once thought impossible, or at least impossibly expensive.