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One of the exciting things about the Cash on Delivery Initiative is that once people understand the concept, they frequently come up with all kinds of new ideas for applying it. This happened most recently at the CGD-hosted book launch for Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Aid this week. Within the course of an hour, the conversation shifted from skeptical questions to prospective applications of COD Aid. While the book outlines a proposal for channeling aid to countries that accelerate their progress toward accomplishing the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary completion, people have asked about applying it to water, deforestation, malaria and to another Millennium Development Goal: reducing maternal mortality.
Unlike World Water Day (March 22nd) or World TB Day (March 24th), International Women’s Day (March 8th) was a hard holiday to miss. Or at least it was in Washington. Hundreds of articles, conferences and galas focused on the inspiring women—and men—working to promote and celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women. But now that I’ve almost recover
This article also appeared in the Business Standard.
Back in 1971, the then US Treasury Secretary, John Connolly, told his European counterparts that the dollar was “our currency, but your problem”. Today, it seems that China has returned that favour. Its currency has become a problem for the US. Not just the politics but the intellectual climate has become charged with even Nobel laureate Paul Krugman urging strong trade action against China. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has a damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don’t choice facing him in mid-April, when he is required by law to pronounce on whether China is a currency manipulator.
The U.S. response in Haiti must be about more than aid, CGD president Nancy Birdsall told Congress this week. She urged members of Congress to push for better trade and migration policies—in addition to more flexibility with our assistance efforts—to help Haiti rebuild after the earthquake.
My colleage Arvind Subramanian published an intriguing Op-Ed in the Financial Times this week. In “The Weak Renminbi is Not Just America’s Problem” Arvind notes that the undervalued Chinese currency is a global problem that requires a multilateral response. He then argues persuasively that neither the United States nor the IMF can be expected to persuade China to revalue its currency. Instead, he says, such action should come from the WTO.
At CGD, we normally conduct research and analysis on development issues (trade, aid effectiveness, climate change, global health), not developing countries. Pakistan is an exception. Motivated by national security interests, the Obama administration is poised to triple its development assistance to Pakistan. The effectiveness of this new U.S. assistance is imperiled by the same governance problems that have undermined the billions spent by the U.S. and other donors in the last 30 years. Given these challenges, how can the new pledges of U.S. aid to Pakistan be implemented effectively, and what, if any, other policy or program initiatives might matter?
To address these questions, we recently launched a new CGD initiative on the U.S. development strategy in Pakistan. As part of this initiative we have convened a study group, comprising leading experts in development economics, national security, aid effectiveness and including several prominent Pakistanis. The study group will meet regularly over the next year to help us prepare periodic open letters to the administration commenting on and hopefully helping improve the assistance program, as well as trade and other U.S. policies aimed at greater security, stability and prosperity in Pakistan.