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 Lingering Effects of the U.S. Debt Showdown: Q&A with Liliana Rojas-Suarez

The spectacle of U.S. politicians pushing the country to the brink of default is likely to have lingering effects on global financial markets and hence on development, the eleventh-hour compromise notwithstanding. In the near-term, however, the main issue is the U.S. economic slump and the increased likelihood that the world’s biggest economy will fall back into recession.

Could Uganda Be the Next Niger Delta?

That’s the question in Alain Vicky’s piece this morning in Le Monde Diplomatique (gated). Vicky warns that oil discoveries in Uganda’s Bunyoro region threaten to heighten simmering tensions between the local communities whose ground is being drilled and the central government which is pocketing the cash. Unmet expectations and popular frustration with politicians could unleash violence and do raise concerns that Uganda might be heading for a rough patch.

CGD's New Data & Code Transparency Policy

CGD has just adopted a policy that I believe will improve the quality and usefulness of our work. We have decided to become more transparent. Henceforth, the presumption will be that when authors post publications on cgdev.org that involves quantitative analysis, they will also post the data and computer code needed to fully reproduce their results. That way, any visitor to the web site will in principle be able to check our work.

How to Cut U.S. Funding for Multilaterals? The UK Way.

As Congress looks for cost savings, a logical first step would be to compare the various investments the USG makes to figure out what gets taxpayers the highest returns. One debate is bilateral versus multilateral, and the administration has signaled a preference toward the latter wherever possible (this is debatable, but an argument for another day).

What Does It Mean to Be Low Income?

Andy Sumner and I recently wrote about the fact that the number of low income countries in the world is rapidly shrinking –which is great news because it suggests poor countries are getting richer.  But how much does graduating to ‘middle income’ mean?  Here’s how the original income classification came about, according to the World Bank’s website:

Famine Is a Crime – Blame the Criminal First

My Foreign Policy column this week suggests that in the Twenty-First Century, famines can only occur with the active engagement of local leadership – taking away food from producers and/or denying access to agencies delivering emergency relief.  In Somalia, the leadership that is denying access is al-Shabab – the group in control of the areas of the country where famine has already begun.

Fingerprints, the Next Big Thing in Banking

This is a joint post with Caroline Decker.

With the expansion of cell coverage and mobile banking, millions of poor and rural people can now access financial services. But as financial institutions reach new populations, it is becoming clear that there are other issues keeping people from formal banking, such as the need for identification. Thankfully, there seems to be an easy solution. Just as mobile phones have helped overcome the issue of proximity for banking, biometrics could do the same for identification.

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