With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Welcome to the Center for Global Development's Press Center!
The Center for Global Development’s communications team is standing by to assist reporters on deadline. Our experts can provide analysis, commentary, data, and unique expertise on the global development and economic issues that are driving the news cycle. You can search for experts by their area of expertise here. To arrange an interview or to be added to our press list, please contact Holly Shulman, Communications Director, by phone or email at +1202.416.4040 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can subscribe here to our weekly newsletter, events invite list, and topic specific newsletters. You can also follow CGD on Twitter at @CGDev. Or send us an email with your interests and we would be happy to add you to our press lists.
From the article:
Hugging the shores of the Indian Ocean, Kenya’s Mombasa port is one of the biggest and busiest harbors in East Africa.
Almost 1,800 vessels docked at the port in 2017 alone, with cargo worth over 30 million tons processed—much of it heading to neighboring or landlocked nations including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and DR Congo. Since its opening in the mid-1890s, the seaport has developed to be a rising regional hub and a key cog in Kenya’s growing infrastructural development.
In December, reports surfaced the prized port was used as collateral for the $3.2 billion loan that was used to construct the 470-kilometer (292 miles) rail line between the seaside city and the capital Nairobi. In a leaked report linked to the auditor general’s office, Kenya was said to risk losing its port if it defaulted on the loan, with the Exim Bank of China taking over the port authority’s “escrow account” to regain revenues. Further reports have even noted it goes beyond just one asset that’s been put up as collateral and that “any state” possession was on the table in the event of a non-payment.
Western leaders, drawing on these examples and wary of China’s rising financial and economic might, have cautioned African states from taking out these loans. Observers have also pointed to the fact Beijing offers financing with fewer strings attached and isn’t part of the global multilateral framework for official creditors known as Paris Club. This has raised questions about the transparency, sustainability and commercial viability of Chinese state-sponsored lending, which have grown tenfold in the past five years in Africa.
And with no officially-published contracts or “no written predictable rules” of how Beijing responds to a loan default, “people are free to speculate,” says W. Gyude Moore, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. Between 2000 and early 2019, there were 85 instances when China canceled or restructured debt globally—including most recently in Cameroon.
The Sri Lanka port remains the only place in the world where Beijing took control of a state asset, with observers noting that officials understood the damages “debt book diplomacy” could bring to China. Yet Beijing’s debt relief or repayment actions, Moore notes, remains “haphazard. It’s unpredictable. There’s nothing written. It’s confusing.”
Because there’s no frame of reference for Chinese deals, Moore, who previously served as Liberia’s minister of public works, says African governments can improve their capacity to negotiate by drawing support from global litigation services. These include the African Legal Support Facility hosted by the African Development Bank or pro-bono entities like the International Senior Lawyers Program. Mobilizing these resources, he adds, could improve the quality of project selection and the process of delivering them.
From the article:
LONDON — Aid money spent outside the U.K. Department for International Development is failing to meet good standards on poverty focus, effectiveness, and transparency, a new report has found, as DFID’s share of the aid budget continues to fall.
Analysis by the ONE Campaign comparing aid spending across Whitehall departments from 2016-2017 found significant discrepancies in how the money is being spent. It also found that although British aid is officially untied, at least £457 million ($595.8 million) was spent through programs that require United Kingdom institutions to be part of any bid.
The new index is the latest in a string of similar initiatives which indicate that U.K. aid standards may be slipping. A report by the Center for Global Development in December suggested that the quality of U.K. aid fell sharply between 2012-2016, but did not disaggregate the data by government department. Last year’s Aid Transparency index also placed FCO among the least transparent donors globally, while DFID ranked near the top.
From the article:
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.
Last fall, the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela estimated that only around 20 percent of needed medicines were available; the Medical Federation reported that around one-third of Venezuela’s physicians had left the country. The death rate for children under the age of five is similar to that in war-torn Syria, and more than one in 10 young children suffer from acute malnutrition, which can have lifelong consequences in terms of stunted physical and mental development...
Click here to read more!
From the article:
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Trump administration has notified World Bank shareholders that President Donald Trump intends to pick senior Treasury Department official David Malpass as the U.S. nominee to lead the development lender, people familiar with the decision said on Monday.
The nomination of Malpass would put a Trump loyalist and a skeptic of multilateral institutions in line to lead the World Bank, which committed nearly $64 billion to developing countries in the year ended June 30, 2018.
Politico, which first reported the decision, said it would be announced on Wednesday, citing unidentified administration officials.
Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development, said the choice showed that the Trump administration was trying to undermine a key global institution and urged other countries to nominate alternative candidates.
“They have a choice. It’s a simple majority vote, the U.S. has no veto in this election and there are many better candidates,” Sandefur said in an emailed statement.
The World Bank will accept nominations from Thursday through March 14 and up to three candidates could advance to a board vote.
Picked up by CNBC
From the article:
WASHINGTON—President Trump will nominate David Malpass, one of the World Bank’s sharpest critics within his administration, to be the next leader of the bank.
The president will formally announce Mr. Malpass as the American nominee to lead the world’s largest development bank on Wednesday, according to administration officials.
As the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs, Mr. Malpass has attracted attention for his criticism of the World Bank, especially over its lending to China. He has argued the country has become wealthy enough that it no longer needs to borrow from the World Bank. Mr. Malpass has also been part of the U.S. team negotiating trade with China.
“David Malpass is a Trump loyalist who has committed economic malpractice on a wide range of topics, from dismissing the first signs of the 2008 global financial crisis to flirting with the abolition of the IMF,” said Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank focused on global poverty. “The question now is whether other nations represented on the World Bank’s board of governors will let the Trump administration undermine a key global institution.”
From the article:
LONDON — On Oct. 2, 2012, the World Bank’s Preston Auditorium is packed with staff waiting to catch a glimpse of their new leader. Jim Kim, the 12th president of the world’s most influential development bank, enters the auditorium to cheers and applause. Some staff hold up their phones and iPads to film his remarks.
“Never has the world been more in need of what we can do,” Kim, a medical doctor and public health leader, tells the enthusiastic crowd.
Fast-forward two years and the cheers have turned to boos when Kim walks onto that same stage. Staff routinely take to the bank’s internal message system — and to the press — to rail against Kim’s deeply unpopular reform package, made worse by the revelation that the chief financial officer leading the cuts has been given a nearly $100,000 bonus. The once inspiring Kim is now seen by many as an arrogant autocrat, hiring and firing employees at will.
The Syrian refugee crisis exposed another gap in the bank’s financial arsenal. Jordan and Lebanon, middle-income countries that were ineligible for concessional financing, were buckling under the pressure of an enormous influx of refugees. Kim tasked his team with finding a solution. They created the Global Concessional Financing Facility, which allowed the bank to break its own rules in cases where individual countries were shouldering global responsibilities to host refugee populations.
Getting the bank to focus on these global shocks — the “big challenges facing our sector” — was the most important part of Kim’s legacy, according to Cindy Huang, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.
“The strength the bank brings to these conversations [is] difficult to overestimate,” she said.
From the article:
In his first State of the Union address last year, President Trump outlined his vision for an “America first” approach to overhauling the immigration system, revitalizing manufacturing and prioritizing national interests abroad.
As Mr. Trump prepares to deliver his second address on Tuesday, which is also expected to highlight the president’s immigration agenda, here’s an assessment of his progress on the promises he made last year.
THE PROMISE: “That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”
Congress ignored Mr. Trump’s calls to drastically reduce foreign aid, instead approving budgets that included billions more than the president had requested, and made no significant changes to foreign aid policy.
Sarah Rose, an analyst at the Center for Global Development, said the administration had been constrained by Congress — and its own “fundamental inconsistency” in funneling money to friends and allies while simultaneously giving aid to countries that might not otherwise receive it in order to counter China’s influence.
Mr. Trump has threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries over migrant caravans, and Nikki R. Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, had proposed making aid contingent on support for American-backed policies at the United Nations.
Yet the amount of assistance given to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador has been typical. And while the United States did end funding for Palestinian refugees in August, it did not follow through on withholding aid from countries that voted for a United Nations resolution condemning Mr. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, said Jeremy Konyndyk, a former director of the foreign disaster assistance program at the United States Agency for International Development.
“The issue is that he made a promise that was well beyond his ability to accomplish,” Mr. Konyndyk said. “The president is not a monarch and can’t just do things unilaterally.”
From the article:
For months Mahathir Mohamad has been plucking up courage to declare that, when it comes to Chinese investment in infrastructure, his is the Malaysia that can say no. At a projected cost of $20bn, the East Coast Rail Link, planned to run down peninsular Malaysia’s eastern seaboard before cutting west, is a big deal. In fact it is the second-biggest of all the projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (bri), China’s grand scheme to improve infrastructure across scores of countries, to tie East, West and all other compass points together.
A report last year by the Centre for Global Development listed 23 countries involved in bri that were at “significant” risk of debt distress. One of them, Myanmar, wants to cut the size of a port and economic zone in Rakhine state, as well as shelve for good a controversial dam on the headwaters of the Irrawaddy. Another, Pakistan, the biggest recipient of bri projects, is facing a balance-of-payments crisis and has begged China for easier terms. Hawks making the running in the administration of President Donald Trump depict China as out to bankrupt weak governments, all the better to erode their sovereignty and dictate terms: “debt-trap diplomacy”.