Ideas to Action:

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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 True True Size of Africa

The Economist has a nice piece here on the True Size of Africa. It’s about geographic size (Africa is bigger than you think – which is true for all countries and regions near the equator that don’t benefit from the Mercator distortion in our two-dimensional map world).

Sudan – Southern Secession, Oil, and Debt Relief

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post.

Next week, President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and other global leaders will meet with Sudanese leadership to discuss the upcoming referendum. The stakes are huge. In January, southern Sudanese will vote on whether to secede and launch a new, independent country. It’s hard to imagine them not supporting the breakaway vote given their decades’ long fight for independence. Roughly 2 million people died in that struggle. The multi-million dollar question is – what will Khartoum do? Will they let the referendum happen? Will it be fair and transparent? If so, will they respect the results? The meeting next week will grapple with these critical issues.

Clearly, Khartoum has a lot of lose.

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.

Where Is the Go in AGOA? Some Ideas for Promoting U.S.-African Investment

This is a joint post with Ben Leo.

It’s the season for trade talks with Africa again. The annual AGOA Forum, which opens today, is one of those ideas that sound terrific: assemble all of the relevant U.S. and African policymakers to discuss ways of generating greater commerce. Last year the forum was in Nairobi; this year it’s two days in Washington and then three days in Kansas City (consistent with the administration’s food security focus).

Liberia’s Debt Relief Party

This week, Liberians celebrated in the streets – faces painted, drums blaring, and dancing with abandon.  They’re not rejoicing over some recent triumph by the Liberian soccer team or a local festival.  The streets of Monrovia were overflowing because of debt relief.  That’s right, debt relief.  On Tuesday, Liberia secured nearly $5 billion in irrevocable debt relief from the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and bilateral creditors.  It’s a massive sum

Mo Governance in Africa? Not This Year (Again).

Is African governance getting better? The Mo Ibrahim Foundation seems to be having a tough time finding winners for its prize for retiring African presidents. The prize, designed to strengthen incentives for African leaders to relinquish office when their terms end, consists of US$5million over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. After giving the award to Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano in 2007 and Botswana’s Festus Mogae in 2008, they decided no one deserved it last year.

Mitch Smith Wins Trip to Africa with Nick Kristof!

This is a joint post with Katherine Douglas and Sandy Stonesifer.

After three months, 893 applications, and a lot of effort by bright university students across the United States, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof selected Nebraska native Mitch Smith to join him on a reporting trip to Africa.

Those of you who entered or follow the yearly Win-a-Trip contest know that Nick asked CGD to vet the first round of applications. We jumped at the opportunity to lend some elbow grease to Nick’s contest and quickly realized how persuasively and passionately these students communicated about poverty and development.

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