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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.

 

The Two Faces of Middle East Economies

Like the mythical Roman god Janus, there are two faces to most of the economies of the MENA region. We can call them the young and the old. And that the choice for MENA governments to make is not which face of Janus to support, but rather how to ensure that both can co-exist and prosper.  

Prioritizing Livelihoods: How Personal Security Can Promote Economic Security in Jordan

Ensuring refugees have access to livelihoods opportunities is one of the key factors to broader stability. When refugees are allowed to contribute meaningfully to the economy, they gain self-reliance and economic security. Creating sustainable livelihoods, providing the right to work and to own a business, and creatively bringing refugees and native businesses into the formal economy can be steps in the right direction.

Migration, Refugees, and Development: How Jordan and Moldova's Challenges Have Inspired Better Policy Planning and Innovation

The level of challenge faced by Jordan and Moldova on refugees and migration is remarkable: while Jordan has welcomed over a million Syrian refugees, Moldova has a migration outflow equivalent to a quarter of its population. Without the option of closing their borders, the scale of these movements not only puts the challenge for developed countries into context, but provides important insights on the importance of planning, and of innovation in policy.

How the Next Administration Can Modernize US Security and Development Assistance in the Middle East

Surging violence in the Middle East, massive refugee flows from the region, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and here at home have brought renewed focus to the fight against terrorism. The strategies are strikingly familiar—a new international military coalition, the return of US troops to the region, an increase in security assistance to regimes in the region. But if what’s past is prologue, these strategies, taken alone, will fail to secure our interests.

Turning a Page on Egypt?

The Obama administration released a remarkable set of decisions on Egypt policy yesterday which, if followed through and supported by Congress, could signal a dramatic shift for US-Egypt relations.

A New Day for Egyptians?

The Government of Egypt launches its much-touted Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm El Sheikh this week, and has pulled out all the stops to lure foreign investors. 

Secretary Lew in Cairo: More Jobs for Egyptians or More of the Same?

Treasury Secretary Lew was in Egypt today, meeting with Egyptian finance minister Hany Dimian and central bank governor Hisham Ramez to discuss, among other things, Egypt’s renewed focus on economic reform.  Pro-poor policies, support for small and medium enterprises, and meeting the demands of Egypt’s youth for political and economic freedom should be central to the Secretary’s message.

Squeezing Iran into Submission: Why It Ain’t Gonna Happen That Way

Having studied more than 200 episodes of economic sanctions in the 20th Century, people often ask me to identify the greatest sanctions success story that my colleagues and I uncovered. My answer is usually along the lines of, hmmm, well, I can think of lots of spectacular sanctions failures—for example the 50-year long embargo against Castro’s Cuba. But there are no equally spectacular successes. There were times when sanctions were decisive in achieving foreign policy goals, but most often it was when those goals were relatively modest. 

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.

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