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CGD in the News

January 17, 2019

The U.S. and China Are Making Davos a Mess for Everyone Else (Bloomberg)

From the article:

The rivalry between the U.S. and China is complicating the lives of companies and countries that would prefer to stay on the good side of both superpowers. Those caught in the crossfire range from U.S. airlines, which were threatened last year if they didn’t indicate on their websites that Taiwan is part of China, to Canada, which ran afoul of the Chinese when it detained a prominent Chinese tech executive at the Americans’ request.

The tensions are likely to be palpable at the annual World Economic Forum. In recent years each country has used Davos to zing the other.


The U.S. is pressing poor countries to take assistance from it rather than China, says Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington. National security adviser John Bolton said in a Dec. 13 speech that the U.S. is a better choice for African nations in need of loans. China, in contrast, is happy to have recipients of its aid also take money from the U.S. and other Western sources because “it helps them reputationally” to have partners, Morris says.

January 17, 2019

Zimbabwe Crackdown Saps Hopes of Reform (Foreign Policy)

From the article:

Authorities in Zimbabwe have killed at least eight people and shut down the internet following protests on fuel price hikes in the past week around the country, in the most severe bout of state-mediated violence since President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power in 2017.


“He’s the enforcer,” said Todd Moss, an expert on the region and former State Department official now at the Center for Global Development.

“Under the Mugabe dictatorship, the police were always at the forefront, and the use of the military was there, but behind closed doors.”

To make it hard for organizers to coordinate the protests and to prevent images and video of the crackdown from seeping out and prompting international criticism, the Zimbabwean government moved to shut down internet access on Jan. 14.

January 17, 2019

The World Bank presidential race heats up (Devex)

From the article:

World Bank President Jim Kim’s surprise announcement that he is stepping down on Feb. 1 — more than three years before the end of his second term — has ignited a frenzied race to replace him. Names and scenarios, including one that could transform the campaign, are beginning to emerge.


Scott Morris, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, agreed that whether America maintains its grip on the World Bank presidency will largely depend on who the Trump administration chooses to nominate, but he added that the bar for a successful American candidate might be lower than bank staffers would like.

If the White House puts forward a candidate most European leaders can support — or even just accept — it is unlikely other major shareholders would go to battle with the administration over the bank, or that enough smaller shareholders would coalesce around a challenger, Morris said.

“There is a credibility test that the Trump people will have to meet with their nominee. Frankly, maybe it is a lower threshold than one might have hoped,” he said.


“Imagine a U.S. nominee who actively goes out to the capitals of the world and says, ‘look, my agenda for the bank is to get them out of this climate finance business in line with Trump administration views. I also think the IBRD [International Bank for Reconstruction and Development] doesn’t have a very compelling mission anymore. I don’t think the bank needs to be financing all these middle-income countries.’ It strikes me that that’s a pretty losing campaign platform for a lot of the countries that will ultimately build a majority,” CGD’s Morris said.

In that “extreme case,” it would be “relatively easy for countries to start a process of rallying behind an opposing candidate,” he added. The challenge for the Trump administration is to “recognize that this is not a cabinet pick. It’s not a U.S. government position. It’s about nominating someone to serve as the head of a multilateral institution, and that ought to give that individual some more degrees of freedom around their own agenda,” Morris said.

“It’s going to take a lot to get the Europeans upset. I think they will be actually really desperate to see the Trump administration put forward a candidate that meets some level of credibility,” Morris said.

January 17, 2019

Zimbabwe’s president channels Mugabe in violent crackdown on protests (Talk Media News)

From the article:

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Todd Moss is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and says the man running Zimbabwe in Mnangagwa’s place, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, has resorted to some familiar tactics to maintain order.

“He is a long-time enforcer, he’s the head of the military and all the brutal tactics that we’re seeing — shooting civilians in the streets, raiding peoples’ homes in the middle of the night — that’s all organized by Vice President and former general Chiwanga.” 

Moss isn’t hopeful Zimbabwe’s government can or will fix the mess they’ve created.

“It’s like a mafia situation, where there’s a small group that uses their control of the security to enrich themselves and as they see the economy getting worse, they’re like rats on the ship — everyone is grabbing what they can now in a desperate bid to hold onto what they have.”

But instead of writing off Zimbabwe’s problems as endemic, Moss says the U.S. and other countries should harness the leverage they still have over the new president.

“They must make absolutely clear to Mnangagwa that he is responsible for the actions of his military and that all the things he craves from the world – legitimacy, he wants investment and he’s desperate for debt relief from the U.S. and other creditors – all of that is absolutely on the line if he does not rein in the terror we’re seeing unfold today.”

January 16, 2019

The World Bank Needs to Join the 21st Century (Foreign Policy)

From the article:

Nearly two decades into the 21st century, the World Bank remains a 20th-century institution. In recent years, its reputation has faded and its influence diminished—the natural outcome of the rise of China and other emerging markets and the increasing access of even the poorest countries to borrowing on the private capital market. The current World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, essentially acknowledged his own institution’s reduced importance with his preemptive resignation, effective Feb. 1, to take a job with a private equity firm.

The only way that Kim’s successor—whoever that ends up being—can succeed is by recognizing that the institution needs a new direction to match this new era. The World Bank can no longer afford to think of itself as a routine international lender. Instead, it must adapt to the new challenges the world faces.

Among this century’s existential global threats is climate change. The World Bank’s next president needs to prioritize financing projects that reduce climate risks. The World Bank may be the only institution…

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January 16, 2019

Ivanka Trump, chasseuse de têtes pour la Banque mondiale (Le Temps)

From the article:

Qui osera défier l’administration Trump?

En 2012, Scott Morris était un haut fonctionnaire de l’administration Obama et avait alors travaillé pour l’élection de Jim Yong Kim à la tête de la Banque mondiale. «C’était tout de même la première fois qu’une candidate non américaine et crédible – l’ancienne ministre des Finances du Nigeria Nzogi Okonjo-Iweala – avait défié les Etats-Unis, se souvient-il. A la fin, comme dans toute course, le plus fort l’avait emporté.»

A présent, Scott Morris est l’un des dirigeants du Center for Global Development, une importante association d’information et d’entraide basée à Washington, Londres et Bruxelles. A ce titre, il affirme que la course à la présidence de la Banque mondiale est bel et bien ouverte, en principe.

En revanche, il ne voit pas de pays ou groupe de pays défier l’administration Trump lorsque celle-ci présentera officiellement son candidat. «Tout dépendra des Européens, qui voudront ou pas aller à l’encontre des Etats-Unis. Mais l’oseraient-ils, dans la mesure où ils ont besoin du soutien américain pour occuper la première place au FMI?»

January 16, 2019

Next World Bank chief could bring Trumpian mindset to one of the world’s major lenders (Global News)

From the article:

Whoever U.S. President Donald Trump nominates to run the World Bank will likely take over one of the largest lenders on the planet, with the power to slash green-energy funding and push the organization into a more political role on the international stage.

No matter who takes over the role, he or she will lead a 189-member organization that hands out nation-changing loans for projects it deems suitable. The bank, which draws money from its member organizations, committed to nearly $67 billion in loans last year. However, its influence has waned over the last decade as countries have decided to invest in funds seen to be less tilted toward U.S. interests.


There’s also a chance the Europeans might break their deal with the U.S. if Trump puts forward a polarizing candidate, according to Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

“If the administration offers a plausible candidate, I think they’ll get in,” he told Global News.

Kenny says Trump’s choice would likely fail the nomination process if he or she openly supported some of Trump’s more scientifically dubious policies.

“If it’s a strong candidate, my guess is they’ll pull through,” Kenny said. “If the candidate is not plausible, I think all bets are off.”

January 16, 2019

Aid NGOs warn of disruption as Brexit deal collapses (Devex)

From the article:

Aid experts and NGOs have warned of potential disruption to their work as U.K. lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday night and launched a vote of no confidence in the government.


However, Mikaela Gavas, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development Europe, told Devex she thinks the U.K. will continue paying its development dues to the EU even in a no-deal scenario.

“The U.K. has said it’s committed to being a ‘good development partner’ and so essentially that means whatever the outcome [of Brexit negotiations] they will honor their commitments to the EDF and the EU budgets,” she said.

“It makes sense for the U.K. to do that because … if they don’t … it will mean less money going to developing countries, a sudden halt in the programs ... For the larger development endeavour, it will have pretty dire consequences.”

January 15, 2019

As the world prepares to fight Lassa fever, the interests of pregnant women must be part of the planning (STAT)

From the article:

As health officials work to contain the continuing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, lessons from that crisis can be applied to more equitably battle Lassa fever, another deadly infectious disease.

As 2019 begins, the Ebola outbreak in the DRC is a public health dilemma of tragic proportions. This outbreak, the second largest in history, disproportionally affects women of childbearing potential. Unfortunately, the only available Ebola vaccine has characteristics that make it problematic for use in women who are pregnant. Although they are at high risk of becoming infected and dying, clear recommendations to support giving the vaccine to pregnant women have not been forthcoming.

Read more here!

January 15, 2019

BBC Newsday: Todd Moss on fuel shortages in Zimbabwe (BBC)

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Todd Moss, Senior Fellow on from minutes 37:30-41:00