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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.

 

House Committee Tells U.S. Treasury to Heed Calls for Redesign of Clean Tech Fund

Controversy over the World Bank's proposed design for a multibillion dollar Clean Technology Fund (CTF) reached a House subcommittee last week. When the hearing ended, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the chairman of the subcommittee, voiced support for CGD senior fellow David Wheeler's scenario for a successful fund. Wheeler had urged that the CTF be redesigned to rapidly drive down the price of zero-emissions renewable power so that it becomes cheaper than electricity from coal and other fossil fuels -- thereby helping to avert a climate disaster.

Be Careful What You Wish for: Fighting Corruption Is Good, But Not If It Means Stopping Development Assistance

Senators Lugar and Bayh are again on the anticorruption warpath. Yesterday they issued a press release calling for "a Government Accounting Office (GAO) probe of the World Bank's anticorruption efforts." They want to make sure that the U.S.'s $950 million contribution to the International Development Association is not being "misspent and enriching corrupt foreign regimes." Certainly sounds reasonable, but is this really the right focus for a review of World Bank operations?

InterAction Forum Brings a Dose of Political Realism (and Optimism) to 21st Century Foreign Assistance Efforts

Hundreds of development advocates gathered in Crystal City last week for the annual InterAction Forum urged a fresh effort to bring U.S. foreign assistance efforts into the 21st century.
At a luncheon plenary session during the conference, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) summarized:

Foreign assistance is more important to America's national security and foreign policy than ever before. But our Cold-War mechanisms aren't up to the challenge.

Giving Suharto His Due

I was of two minds as to whether or not to join in the analysis of Suharto's legacy, but I decided that I cannot let stand some of what I have read about Suharto, Indonesia's strongman president for 31 years, who died on Sunday at the age of 86. For those who don't know me: I was the World Bank's country director in Jakarta from 1994 to 1999. I was present during Indonesia's financial crisis and when Suharto was forced out of office in May, 1998.

Folsom's Departure Creates Opening to Fix The World Bank Fight Against Corruption

Suzanne Rich Folsom, the controversial head of the World Bank's internal anti-corruption unit, resigned yesterday to return to the private sector. With Ms. Folsom's departure almost all of Paul Wolfowitz's inner circle has now left the Bank. I expect that some of the Bank's critics will cast this turn of events as victory of the bank bureaucracy over the forces of good in a fight for truth, justice, the American way, and, most especially, zero corruption.

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