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.

 

An Uncertain Future for U.S. Trade Preferences Programs

This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.

Here we are in the final days of a congressional session, so it must be time to extend whichever trade preference programs are set to expire. This year, the 111th Congress must act (soon!) to extend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). Important parts of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides benefits and services to American workers who lose their jobs due to trade, is also set to expire at the end of 2010.

On the Hill: Moss Says Nigeria Should Try Cash Transfers (and U.S. Should Support Multilateral Development Banks)

This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.

During a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on the global financial crisis and Nigeria’s financial reforms, CGD vice president for programs and senior fellow Todd Moss said Nigeria’s economic and political stability are inextricably linked to each other and to U.S. national interests. He urged members to support the African Development Bank and the World Bank and proposed a new idea: Nigeria should consider using oil revenues to finance cash transfers to citizens in the Niger Delta.

Three Seoul Sleepers and a Damp Squib

Perhaps predictably, media coverage of the G-20 Seoul Summit focused on the currency wars, and assessments of impact of the meeting were decidedly mixed (though, interestingly, more negative in the United States than in the big emerging markets). But global imbalances were hardly the only item on the agenda. Three summit documents have the potential to become more important with the passage of time, especially if the development community seizes upon them as opportunities to press the big economies for pro-development policies and spreads the word.

Modeling What the New GOP House Means for U.S. Aid to Africa (Hint: -$900m)

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz.

Our colleagues Sarah Jane Staats and Connie Veillette have already explained how the recent election results might affect foreign aid. The 150 Account, which includes aid, is a prime target as Congress takes aim at the budget deficit. One silver lining may be that belt-tightening could also force compromise on long-overdue reforms.

But what can we learn from history?

Too Big to Succeed? Why (W)Hole-of-Government Cannot Work for U.S. Development Policy

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

While talking beautifully about its development plans, the Administration is really not living up to its rhetoric of elevating development to equal status with diplomacy and defense, the so-called 3Ds. If development is really such an equal partner alongside defense and diplomacy, why is USAID increasingly a minor subcomponent of the State department? The promises of making USAID the “world’s premier development agency” are ringing embarrassingly hollow. How can an agency be influential when it doesn’t even control its own budget or set its own strategic priorities? Even in areas where USAID has traditionally been very strong—disaster relief and food security, for instance—the State Department has taken over. (The Feed-the-Future initiative is effectively directed by State and, despite early promises that USAID would lead on Haitian earthquake relief and reconstruction, it was recently leaked that a State coordinator is running the show.) And it should hardly be surprising that USAID is getting its lunch eaten in the interagency when it had no head for a year and, nearly two years in, still has less than half of its top managers on the job.

But what if the problems of the 3Ds aren’t really about the staff vacancies, the battle of Washington egos, and an empire-building State Department? What if the real problem is that the much-vaunted “whole-of-government” approach is fundamentally unworkable in the United States?

President Bush’s Enduring Legacy

Bipartisanship made a reappearance in a most unlikely place last Wednesday – at the podium of the United Nations.  In his address to the United National Millennium Development Goals Summit, President Obama unveiled his “new” approach to development, emphasizing a focus on results, investing in countries committed to their own development through sound governance and democracy, tapping the forces of the economic growth through entrepreneurship and trade, and the need for mutual accountability between developed and developing countries.  In doing so, he followed precisely in the footsteps of

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