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CGD in the News

May 25, 2018

Atoms For Africa (Forbes)

From the article:

The Center for Global Development recently published a new report, Atoms for Africa, discussing how there is more interest in nuclear energy among African countries than the rest of the world realizes.
 
Co-authored by Jessica Lovering, Director of Energy at the Breakthrough Institute, and three Fellows - Abigail Sah, Omaro Maseli, and Aishwarya Saxena – the report outlines how new nuclear technologies can accelerate deployment and solve fears like meltdowns and weapons proliferation.
 
But without U.S. and international financial support for nuclear projects on that continent, African governments will be forced to partner with Russia and China.
 

Read the full article here

May 24, 2018

A Radical Proposal To Fight Poverty In The Developing World: Tax The Rich More Than The Poor (Vox)

From the article (op-ed by Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur)

The world’s poorest people have been getting richer recently, but they remain incredibly poor, with 10 percent of the world’s population still consuming $1.90 or less a day — a small fraction of the resources available to people at the US poverty line.
 
Here is a radical proposal that could improve their lot: progressive taxation and welfare systems.
 
That may seem so obvious as to not be worth mentioning. In the developed world, government taxes together with transfer systems like welfare payments are readily accepted as one way reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. That’s true even in the United States, where laissez-faire is a state religion.
 
But new data on taxation and spending in the world’s poorest countries suggests that progressive tax-and-transfer systems are far less common than you would think. In general, taxes are less progressive in those countries, financial transfers are much smaller, and the bulk of social spending is soaked up by broken health and education systems. The net effect is often that tax-and-transfer policies leave poor people worse off, not better.
 
Tax and transfer systems reduce inequality in the rich world but can exacerbate poverty in the poorest countries
 

Read the full article here

May 24, 2018

There Are 1 Billion Unbanked Women In The World. This Mobile Initiative Could Transform Their Lives (Forbes)

From the article:

Rose Kibona sells prepared food and drinks to passers-by from a small stall at the bustling local market in her hometown of Mbeya, Tanzania. At the end of each work day, she put her earnings into various savings accounts -- which, in her case, were jars, bags and a locked chest hidden away in her bedroom -- each one for a different purpose.
 
“This is how she saved,” says Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and researcher for She Counts.
 
She Counts is an international effort launched this March to support unbanked women micro-entrepreneurs like Kibona by giving them mobile savings accounts. It’s a collaboration between the CGD, Women’s World Banking (WWB) and the ExxonMobil Foundation to reach more than 1 billion women worldwide who lack easy access to banking services.
 
The organization also aims to push financial institutions to serve more of these women. “Traditional social norms [around the world] often further restrict women’s access to productive resources and services, with negative economic consequences,” She Counts says in a recent report.
 

Read the full article here

May 24, 2018

Reagan Versus Trump On The Free Movement Of People (Forbes)

From the article:

One can find no greater contrast between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump than on the issue of the free movement of people. Ronald Reagan told the governments of the Soviet Union and East Germany to let their people emigrate, whereas in a recent forum on Long Island, Donald Trump said the U.S. will punish Central American governments that do not prevent their citizens from leaving for the United States.
 
At an event in Bethpage, New York, on May 23, 2018, Donald Trump said, “So we’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid – if we give them aid at all, which we may not just give them aid at all.”
 
Much of the criticism leveled against Trump’s remarks in Long Island focused on the policy wisdom of cutting aid to struggling nations. “Some immigration policy experts argue that the way to prevent migrants from coming to the U.S. is to increase aid to the region to combat poverty and gang violence,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
 
Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote, “U.S.-supported aid projects in Central America have been shown to reduce the very violence that accelerates irregular migration.” Clemens conducted research on the root causes of child migration from Central America. He examined data on “all 179,000 children apprehended in the United States after migrating, alone and without visas, from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala from 2011 to 2016.” He found, “Ten additional murders in the region caused six more children to migrate to the United States.”
 

Read the full article here

May 24, 2018

Blockchain For Social Good Hype Requires 'Recalibration,' Ex-Treasury Official Argues (Forbes)

From the article:

Blockchain technology has generated enormous buzz in the international development community recently, being touted as an elixir to the thorny issues that economic theorists and World Bank technocrats have trudged away at for decades. 
 
Whether it’s solving climate change, curing poverty or bringing financial inclusion and digital identities to billions -  no problem is so great that it can’t be tamed by the blockchain, the narrative goes. 
 
But Michael Pisa, a fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., argues that while blockchain offers the development community an important and powerful new tool, a never-ending echo chamber of hype and unrealistic expectations aren’t going to help anybody. 
 
In a forthcoming essay for CGD, Pisa calls on the blockchain for social impact community to “recalibrate” its expectations of what the technology can and can’t do, to direct focus toward the use cases that offer the most true potential and to deploy greater efforts toward overcoming the substantial barriers to adoption that still exist even in the low-hanging fruit areas. 
 

Read the full article here

May 23, 2018

World Bank Staff Warn About Trying To Do More, While Getting Paid Less (Devex)

WASHINGTON — World Bank staff representatives are worried the historic capital increase deal reached at the annual meetings last month will mean bank employees are asked to do more while being paid less.
 
The staff association has reiterated its concern that the agreement to infuse more capital into the institution has come at the expense of staff salary growth, a compromise they argue could make the bank less competitive for future job candidates. Others say the bank’s employees should remember that even if salary growth gets trimmed, a bigger World Bank is ultimately good news for staff.
 
...The World Bank staff association has argued the board should view the bank as competing more closely with private sector employers than with public institutions, but not everyone agrees with that view.
 
“Let’s do a direct comparison of bank salaries with the salaries of public employees in their membership,” said Scott Morris, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and former United States Treasury official.
 
 
 
May 22, 2018

U.S. Announces Additional $7 Million Donation In Fight Against Ebola In Congo (Huffington Post)

From the article:

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday announced that the U.S. is contributing an additional $7 million to fight the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the U.S. Agency for International Development’s $1 million donation.

...Jeremy Konyndyk, who helped lead the 2014 Ebola response for the Obama administration, said the increase was a “substantial contribution” that deserves credit. Konyndyk is now a senior policy fellow for the Washington-based Center for Global Development. 

“Strong up-front funding like this reflects the reality that it is far cheaper to contain disease outbreaks early via a proactive ― rather than reactive ― response operation,” Konyndyk told HuffPost.
 

Read the full article here

May 22, 2018

Ebola, Amnesia And Donald Trump (New York Times)

From the article:

On Monday, a team led by the World Health Organization began inoculating people in the Democratic Republic of Congo against the Ebola virus with an experimental vaccine in an attempt to quell an outbreak of the disease that began in early May.
 
If the effort succeeds, and maybe even if it doesn’t, it will go down in history as the first time Ebola was met with more than just the crude tools of quarantine and hospice care.
 
That medical aid workers could begin such a campaign so quickly — within just two weeks of the earliest reported cases of the disease — is a testament to how well the lessons of the 2014 Ebola outbreak have been learned. That crisis raged across West Africa for more than a year, growing into a full-blown epidemic, claiming 11,300 lives — and yes, reaching American shores — before it was finally halted at a cost that exceeded $5.6 billion for the United States alone. Experts blamed the slow, uncoordinated response for the high death toll and steep price tag.
 
This time, things appear to be different: Doctors and scientists were deployed to the threatened region within days of the earliest reports of the disease, and by all accounts, global, national and nonprofit organizations have coordinated their efforts well.
 
To be sure, this latest resurgence of Ebola is still cause for concern. Forty-six cases have been reported so far, with 26 deaths, and the disease has already spread from the country’s remote northern reaches to a populous port city. But so far, the World Health Organization has not declared the crisis a “public health emergency of international concern,” the agency’s most serious designation. If efforts succeed, health officials say, the scourge could be eradicated by summer’s end.
 
“A lot of what’s working now is the result of remembering and learning from previous failures,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and the director of foreign disaster assistance at the United States Agency for International Development during the Obama administration.
 

Read the full article here

May 21, 2018

What To Watch At This Year's World Health Assembly (Devex)

From the article:

GENEVA — With Ebola back in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this year’s World Health Assembly sees the threat of pandemic diseases and the fragility of global health security once again at the forefront of the global health leaders’ minds.
 
While the virus is endemic in DRC, this latest outbreak has raised particular concern after a patient was confirmed to have contracted the virus in one of the health zones in Mbandaka, a city of more than 1 million and a major port town next to the Congo river. Nine countries, including the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, are at high risk of transmission.
 
...The focus Ebola is receiving against the backdrop of the organization’s most important annual meetings provides the U.N. aid agency an opportunity to showcase leadership and demonstrate that the reforms it has taken since the last outbreak are proving to be effective.
 
Improved confidence in the agency could have ripple effects on other agenda items at the weeklong meetings in Geneva. Member states will be evaluating funding for WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies, which as of March 2018, had received “no new multi-year funding agreement,” and deciding the fate of the organization’s draft 13th General Programme of Work, which Tedros said is the “most important” action item at this year’s assembly.
 
Tedros aims for member states to endorse the GPW in this year’s assembly, allowing him to fast-track a process that traditionally takes at least two years.
 
But again, whether that confidence will translate to a fully funded GPW remains to be seen.
 
“We do remain encouraged by the emphasis on measurable goals, outcomes, and impact throughout the [GPW]. However, the aspirational plans versus the high-level financial estimate of $10.8 billion over five years of course I think will remain a key debate. This represents about $1.2 billion over the previous GPW, and consequently, while the strategy is promising, there will be discussion related to the feasibility of the proposal,” said Elisa Adelman, health officer from the Office of Health Systems and WHO liaison at the U.S. Agency for International Development, in a panel at the Center for Global Development last week ahead of WHA.
 

Read the full article here

May 20, 2018

Venezuela Chooses Its Next President (BBC)

Summary of the episode: 

After years of turmoil which at one point saw almost daily street protests, President Nicolas Maduro is looking to consolidate his power. Most of the opposition is boycotting the vote.

Listen to the episode here 

(Jeremy's interview starts around 29.56 and ends at 36.02)

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