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.

 

What Happens When Donors Fail to Meet Their Commitments?

This is a joint post with Rita Perakis.

Has the aid industry introduced the reforms it agreed in 2005 to make aid more effective? No, according to the survey published last week by the OECD DAC. In this blog post we reflect on why this matters, and what it means for the forthcoming summit in Busan.

Related Podcast

A Moveable Feast of Meetings: Owen Barder

The development sector is in a mess. Developing countries have to deal with a large and growing number of partners, each with separate agendas, priorities, and requirements. Meetings, reports, milestones and systems multiply. Skilled staff are hired away from governments and from business to serve in local agency offices or NGOs. Funding is fragmented and unpredictable, which means that developing countries are often unable to bring together the scale of long-term, predictable finance needed to undertake significant institutional reform and service delivery. As just one example - in Vietnam, it took 18 months and the involvement of 150 government workers to purchase just five vehicles for a donor-funded project, because of differences in procurement policies among aid agencies.

IMF Leadership: OK for Now, but Fixing the Process Shouldn’t Wait

Christine Lagarde is now firmly in place at the IMF, and her competence, political savvy, and good humor bode well for the institution and the global economy.  Indeed, with the crisis in the eurozone upon us, the results of CGD’s spring survey on how a managing director should be chosen at the IMF may feel behind the moment if not the times—but anyone with five minutes to spare should take a look at David Wheeler’s analysis of the results.

Lagarde and the Dragon: The IMF’s New Head Confronts a Rapidly Changing World

Judging from her first public speech since taking office last July, Christine Lagarde is all that her many supporters say she is: tough-minded, articulate, charming.  In a talk hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington’s Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, she deftly laid out key challenges facing the global economy: “an anemic and bumpy recovery with unacceptably high unemployment” in the high-income countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and mounting public debt in the United States.

Go On, Hug a Failure

Back in June, I blogged about a meeting with Dr Maura O’Neill Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, and a very interesting discussion of the importance of learning from failure.  The possibility of a USAID FailFaire –or even Fail Summit— was mooted.  We’re not quite there yet.  And maybe we won’t be until there’s a grand bargain o

Is 2012 Iraq’s Last Chance to Get It Right on Oil?

This is a joint post with Steph Majerowicz.

The Arab Spring has grabbed the world’s attention, yet Iraq—the Arab country that not long ago was the very epicenter of American foreign policy—has all but fallen off the front pages. While Iraq’s security has improved greatly, the country is still struggling to consolidate a functional government in the face of strong sectarian tensions. Not least of these big challenges is reaching agreement on oil. Eight years after the fall of Saddam, Iraq has yet to pass a hydrocarbons law, let alone come up with a coherent spending plan for its oil wealth.

Related Working Paper and Podcast

Iraq’s Last Window: Diffusing the Risks of a Petro-State - Working Paper 266

Oil 2 Cash in Iraq: Johnny West (Podcast)

So how could Iraq manage its oil? One idea (and readers of this blog will be shocked to hear) is a universal dividend paid to all Iraqis. Colleagues Nancy Birdsall and Arvind Subramanian proposed just this idea back in 2004 as a way to try to create accountability. The idea of an Alaska-style dividend for Iraq was starting to catch on, for example, this NY Times oped by Steven Clemons, proposals from Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and even former Alaskan governor and dividend godfather Jay Hammond tried to export his grand experiment to Baghdad. Given the political and security climate of the time, the idea was thought too radical.

Pages