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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.

 

$100 Billion to End Global Poverty –Déjà vu, Déjà Dismissed?

My column for Foreign Policy this week has a theme that will ring familiar to anyone who has been around global poverty advocacy for the last few years. It puts a price tag on ending poverty.  My price is $100 billion, based on just handing over enough money to everyone worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day to bring them up to that level. The World Bank’s Shanta Devarajan was kind enough to comment on the article:

Surprise: Poor Countries Are Shouldering the Costs of Combating Climate Change

Progress toward an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions has been stymied by disputes about burden-sharing between rich and poor countries.  Many participants assume that poor countries will only begin to reduce emissions after an agreement is signed.  This conflict has been shaped by the view that clean energy development is an expensive game that only the rich countries have been playing.  Another view is that developing countries should only join the game if rich countries provide compensation, or when technological advances in the rich countries make clean energy competit

How 28 Poor Countries Escaped the Poverty Trap

This is a joint post with Charles Kenny

Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000

Doctors perform cataract surgery at the Lusaka Eye Hospital in Zambia. It's inexpensive and it changes people's lives instantly, so it's a good example of how just a little bit more money can make a huge difference to the world's poorest people. Photograph: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Remember the poverty trap? Countries stuck in destitution because of weak institutions put in place by colonial overlords, or because of climates that foster disease, or geographies that limit access to global markets, or simply by the fact that poverty is overwhelmingly self-perpetuating. Apparently the trap can be escaped.

Can Aid Work? Written Testimony Submitted to the House of Lords

Living in Ethiopia for the last three years, I saw aid working every day. I saw children going to school, health workers in rural villages, and food or cash preventing hunger for the poorest people.  The academic debates about aid effectiveness seem surreal when you are surrounded by tangible, visible evidence of the huge difference aid makes to people’s lives.

Obama Won’t Say the “C-Word” as Rich Countries Let Poor Countries Do the Heavy Lifting on Climate

A recent report from the Stockholm Environment Institute contains a shocker: developing countries’ pledges to cut the emissions of heat-trapping gases under the Cancun Agreements exceed the pledges of the high-income countries. This is despite the fact that the developed countries have far higher per capita emissions and are responsible for most of the atmospheric load that is driving global weirding.

Connecting with Central America through Research

Central America experienced almost a decade of economic progress between 2003 and 2008, when GDP per capita growth averaged 3 percent per year. Yet the region’s five countries–Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua–still lag other middle income economies. Their high dependence on their primary commodities and the U.S. economy makes the growth slow and volatile. Even more worrying are high levels of poverty and inequality.  Significant structural changes are urgently needed to secure sustained and inclusive growth.

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