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.

 

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.

$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

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