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.

 

Does Aid Crash During Crises? A Sharper Look

Last fall, as stocks tumbled and credit froze, I blogged on how much foreign aid has fallen in past financial crises. I found that in four previous cases---Finland, Japan, Norway, and Sweden, all in the early 1990s---foreign aid fell 10---62%. The bigger drops happened in bigger crises. The analysis was easy to understand, but crude. One factor it ignored was that the Cold War rationale for foreign aid had just crumbled, so many countries were cutting aid anyway.

Senate Hearing Kicks Off Immigration Reform Debate in 2009

This is a joint post with Joel Meister.

Efforts in the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform kicked off last Thursday with a hearing convened by Senator Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Though conventional wisdom may hold that prospects for reform would only dim in times of economic decline, the hearing, entitled, "Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?”, brought together eight panel witnesses offering diverse perspectives but an underlying consensus that Congress should act on immigration this year. And with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s testimony yesterday before the full Senate Judiciary Committee, the stage is being set for President Obama to address the issue of comprehensive reform later this month.

IMF Gold Sales Should Fund Low-Interest Loans for Poor Countries

On April 29, U.S. House of Representatives Democrat, Rep. Barney Frank, said that he supports authorization by the U.S. Congress of gold sales by the International Monetary Fund, on the condition that $4 billion of the proceeds go to poor countries. He also said that the U.S. Treasury backs his position. This is all good news regarding the IMF’s sale of 1/8th of its gold reserves, approximately 403 tons.

A Transformational North Africa/Middle East Solar Power Program: Bright Prospect for the Clean Technology Fund

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.

Two Tails Wagging, Where's the Dog?

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: Where is the USAID Administrator?

Horse RaceOne 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.

The Potential Economic Impact of Pandemic Flu on Poor Countries: More Serious than a Sneezing Pork Chop

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?

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