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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.

 

Panoramic view of Bogota, Colombia

The Interdependence Between Multilateral Development Banks and Middle-Income Countries

Every MDB is now confronted with the question of what to do with middle-income countries, given the need to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals in general, but very concretely on goal #1—poverty eradication—which will be difficult to achieve based on recent trends. MDBs are very important for MICs, but at the same time MICs are vital for MDBs. This is essentially a two-way relationship. Without MICs, MDBs will be less innovative, will have less knowledge and, importantly, will require more capital from shareholders. I will explain why I believe so in this short note.

Two girls do homework outside a school in Bamako, Mali. Photo from Adobe Stock.

For Better Learning, Africa Needs Better Data

Which African country is making the most progress in teaching kids to read by the time they reach third grade? Which language-of-instruction policies are most effective in early literacy teaching? Which country is getting the most children to complete primary school equipped with basic literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills? The answers? We don’t know because there is no way to know. Comparable data on learning outcomes over the past 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa simply does not exist. 

An oil rig in the ocean. Adobe Stock.

Guyana’s Oil Boom: 2 Steps Down, 4 to Go

ExxonMobil announced the discovery of two more massive oil fields off the coast of Guyana last month. If back-of-the-envelope estimates of around $5 billion of oil revenue per year are correct, that equates to around $6,410 USD per person—far more than the current GDP per capita of $4,655 USD. This wall of cash could be transformative or it could create a rash of new problems.

Mexico City

Mexico Proves Bill & Melinda Right on Gender Data

In their recently released 2019 annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates argue that data can be sexist. Missing or inaccurate data on women and girls can block their progress and that of society and economic development at large, they state, since robust gender data has the power to encourage change to achieve greater gender equality.

Nicolás Maduro speaks at a UN Human Rights Council meeting in 2015.

Why US Oil Sanctions on Venezuela Could Be Too Little, Too Late

The scale of the humanitarian disaster in Venezuela is almost inconceivable. Despite the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the economy barely functions. People struggle just to survive. Store shelves are nearly empty of food, medicine and other necessities. The few goods available are out of reach for most people because of hyperinflation that the International Monetary Fund estimates reached a shocking 1 million percent in 2018. An estimated 3 million Venezuelans have already fled to neighboring countries, and more will likely join them.

Bogotá

Making GCFF Financing a Win for Venezuelans and Their Colombian Hosts

As dueling claims to the Venezuela’s presidency threaten to spark further violence and devastating economic and social turmoil accelerates, the exodus of Venezuelan migrants continues. In a context of increasing pressure and the possibility of larger inflows, the World Bank recently announced that Colombia is now the third country to be eligible for the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF)—a partnership among the World Bank, United Nations, Islamic Development Bank, and others. The GCFF, which is hosted by the World Bank, offers highly concessional financing to middle-income countries hosting significant numbers of refugees. But financing is just the first step. It’s critical to learn lessons from past experience and ensure that policies are in place so that financing yields results and promotes self-reliance.

Liliana Rojas-Suarez speaks at Global Economy in 2019: What Policymakers Need to Know, a CGD event.

How Will Increased External Uncertainties Shape Latin America’s Economic Growth and Stability in 2019?

As we start out 2019, a growing consensus has been forming among experts and market participants: the increased volatility in international capital markets and rising trade tensions of 2018 will not abate in 2019, and in fact may have adverse spillover effects on economic growth and stability of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). How will this challenging international environment shape prospects for Latin America?

Brazil trade graph

Will Brazil Retreat from Its Role in International Development?

Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has been characterised as an unsavoury anti-globalist—so, will he unwind Brazil’s progress as a development actor over the last two decades? Below, I will highlight Brazil’s important contributions to international development, and argue that Bolsonaro’s best bid to eliminate corruption, restore trust in government institutions, and reinstate the country’s path of prosperity is to finalise Brazil’s OECD membership—becoming its second biggest member by population—while also strengthening partnerships and commitments to fast growing markets in the Global South.

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