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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.

 

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.

Top Ten Reasons Why Oil-to-Cash Won’t Work (And Rebuttals!)

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz.

When we share the Oil-to-Cash idea with people who are hearing about it for the very first time, the typical response is almost always viscerally negative. (If you aren’t familiar with Oil-to-Cash, here’s the web page and a 4-min jellybeans video.)  They usually say “That won’t work because of X” or “Sure, that works in Alaska, but my country Y is very different” or “No, the money would be much better spent on Z”.  Often, by the second or third time we talk with people about citizen dividends, however, they start to come around. In a few cases, we’ve even had former skeptics pitching us ideas of how it could work better.

The (Other) UN Cholera Whitewash

There is understandable outrage over the United Nation’s reaction to its role in first creating and then denying responsibility for Haiti’s cholera outbreak in 2010 that killed 8,000 people.  But last week another UN cholera denial story garnered less attention, this time in Zimbabwe following a UN tribunal ruling in Nairobi.

Three Reasons Why Electricity Should Be President Obama’s Legacy in Africa

A month after the inauguration, it’s not too early for the White House to start thinking about legacies. President Obama will surely want some signature development achievement that will outlive his Administration and help, in the public mind, to solidify the connections between Africa and the American people. To be worthy of a US President, and especially one with a family connection to the continent, it has to be something great. Bill Clinton has AGOA. George W.

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