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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.

 

Viewing Africa from Beijing

This past week, a group of researchers and policymakers from Africa, China, Europe and North America gathered at the National School of Development, Peking University to discuss economic development in Africa.  The event was the authors’ workshop for the first edition Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics. Over 40 papers were presented in parallel sessions on topics ranging from Africa’s underground economy to the economics of malaria and China's investments in Africa.

Barron's Africa Mess

Gifted travel writer Paul Theroux has written a piece on “Africa’s Aid Mess” in Barron’s Magazine.  It is certainly an entertaining read, but factual errors make it a misleading piece –and suggest a lack of due diligence on the part of Barron’s.

Brookings-UN Report Gets It Wrong on AGOA

The Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative, in conjunction with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, recently released an important report on possibilities for renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The report uses a standard trade model to explore the impact of various scenarios. It has the imprimatur of two prestigious institutions and was launched at a high-profile event with US Trade Representative Michael Froman as featured speaker, so it could be an important contribution to the debate over the future of AGOA.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, but Which Comes First?

In February 2012, I finished the first draft of my debut novel about an imaginary coup in Mali and American diplomatic efforts to reverse it in the middle of a terrorist attack. My fictional junta in Bamako called itself “The Council for the Restoration of Democracy” and my fictional terrorists were Ansar al-Sahra. Six weeks later, Mali had a real coup when the “National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State” seized power and, a few days later, the northern half of Mali was overtaken by militant groups including a never-heard-of-before Ansar al-Dine.

A White House Own Goal on Energy Poverty?

I’m in full agreement with Todd that it’s great the Obama administration is focusing on energy in Africa (or at least, telling Ex-Im and OPIC to focus on energy in Africa).  Todd spent a good deal of time in 2012–13 encouraging White House to make the issue a signature US foreign policy concern, blogging about it here and here, and supporting the ONE Campaign’s efforts to make it happen, so kudos to him, too.  But Todd begins his post by noting his previous frustration with the White House for dropping the ball on Africa policy.  My concern with this latest initiative is the reverse—too many balls.

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