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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.

 

An industrial welder at work. Adobe Stock

Netflix’s “American Factory” and the New Geography of Manufacturing

Perhaps the most surprising was how similar these scenes playing out in America are to those I’ve seen in Africa. To be sure, many of the factories I visited in Africa were smaller-scale and simpler in their operations than the Ohio glass plant in American Factory. But some Chinese-owned factories in Africa are similarly large-scale and technologically advanced, and no matter the size of the factory, I witnessed many of the same struggles to find cross-cultural understanding, to teach workers genuinely difficult skills, and to withstand the pressure of a highly competitive, global industry.

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. 

Construction cranes around a building going up

The Myth of Chinese Exceptionalism in Africa

Chinese firms are a critical, rising force in African economies, yet many of us balk at the hype and hysteria about Chinese businesses in Africa. Using new data, a report finds that there's nothing unique about the way Chinese firms operate in Africa.

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To Build Stronger Research Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, We Need Your Help

The ideas that will lead to sustained, transformative change in Africa must and will come from Africans in Africa. Central to this is the building of Africa-led, Africa-based institutions capable of producing research that responds to local needs. Yet, despite decades of global investment targeted at building capacity in African institutions, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to lag behind all other global regions on key research metrics, including overall institutional rating, research outputs, and trained personnel.

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