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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.

 

You’ve Heard of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9. Here’s Nigeria’s 20-20-20 (And This One Might Fly)

Lately I’ve been thinking Nigeria should be a little bit more like, of all places, Iran. Yes, Iran. And maybe Alaska.  Here’s how.

Africa’s most populous nation has been a massive underperformer since independence. It’s earned hundreds of billions of dollars from petroleum exports, but the average Nigerian has little to show for it. At least three decades were lost; average incomes in the mid-2000s were the same as in the mid-1970s. More recently, the economic data has been brighter. And there is always hope that the country has finally turned a corner.

A Diamond in the Rough? Africa’s Newest Central Bank Opens in an Unexpected Location

This is a joint post with Ross Thuotte.

Last week, lawmakers in Somaliland (Somalia's northern, semi-autonomous region) reportedly established Somaliland’s first central bank. The measure will pave the way for foreign commercial banks to start operating in Somaliland by 2013, providing much-needed financing support for Somaliland’s private sector businesses. Simultaneously, the donor community (represented by multilateral institutions and both Danish and US aid agencies) has expressed a strong interest in Somaliland. Two questions arise: How can international donors further support Somaliland’s businesses and what can they learn from the parliament’s new central bank?

A Bold New Idea for Infrastructure in Africa

This is a joint post with Julie Walz.

It is no secret that Africa faces an infrastructure crisis. The low-income economies of the region have fewer miles of paved roads and fewer modern freight and passenger-transport systems than any other region in the world. Electricity is also highly unreliable; businesses in many African countries suffer from power outages on more than half of the days they work per year. Inadequate infrastructure is cited by most African firms as the single biggest obstacle to doing business.

The True True Size of Africa

The Economist has a nice piece here on the True Size of Africa. It’s about geographic size (Africa is bigger than you think – which is true for all countries and regions near the equator that don’t benefit from the Mercator distortion in our two-dimensional map world).

Mitch Smith Wins Trip to Africa with Nick Kristof!

This is a joint post with Katherine Douglas and Sandy Stonesifer.

After three months, 893 applications, and a lot of effort by bright university students across the United States, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof selected Nebraska native Mitch Smith to join him on a reporting trip to Africa.

Those of you who entered or follow the yearly Win-a-Trip contest know that Nick asked CGD to vet the first round of applications. We jumped at the opportunity to lend some elbow grease to Nick’s contest and quickly realized how persuasively and passionately these students communicated about poverty and development.

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