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.

 
A shoe factory in the Eastern Industrial Zone of Ethiopia. Photo by UNIDO, via Flickr

Technology or Labor Costs? Why Has Africa Missed Out on a Manufacturing Takeoff? And Is Manufacturing Still a Viable Path to Development?

Debates on Sub-Saharan Africa’s development path and prospects often focus on two questions. Looking back, why have countries not experienced the structural transformation towards labor-intensive manufactures that has played such an important a role in the rapid development of Asian countries? And, looking forward, can poor countries still jump onto the escalator of manufactured exports development?

Image of a lock on a circuit board

Data Protection: Consent is Dead (Long Live Privacy)

There is a growing recognition around the world that consent to share personal data no longer works as a mechanism to protect that data. Placing the burden on providers—and not individuals—to protect data privacy gives developing countries the opportunity to leapfrog to a future-ready data protection environment by shifting the paradigm for data protection in a way that both reflects the technological realities of the 21st century and considers the needs of its poorest citizens.

Map showing the countries that have passed data privacy laws since 2010, mostly low and middle income countries. It also shows the countries that have pending legislation

Addressing Cross-Border Spillovers in Data Policy: The Need for a Global Approach

Global debates about data governance standards have primarily reflected the priorities and needs of rich countries, with less wealthy countries left in the role of “standards takers.” More needs to be done to ensure that digital governance policies pursued by the world’s largest economies do not create unintended consequences that make it harder for other countries to support a strong domestic digital economy and participate in the global digital economy.

An image showing solar panels and a city skyline in the background.

What Are the Development Outcomes of Development Finance?

What impact do development finance institutions (DFIs) like the IFC have on actual development? Today, George Yang and I release a paper that tries to take a sectoral approach to impact: does an IFC electricity investment lead to more power production per capita in a country, or financing provided to local banks lead to a larger proportion of people with a bank account?

Illustration of a surveillance camera singling out one person in a crowd.

A League of Digital Democracies: How Building Consensus on Digital Norms Would Boost the Biden Administration’s Effort to Support Democracy Abroad

President-elect Biden has stated his intention to rebuild values-based alliances and reassert the United States’ role in promoting democracy abroad. Limiting the spread of the digital authoritarianism model that China has pioneered at home and abroad will be key to this effort. To succeed, the US must rally like-minded liberal democracies around a set of principles for the digital age that promote shared prosperity and personal freedom. Failure to do so will allow countries like China and Russia to exert greater influence on the digital governance rules that other countries choose to follow.

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