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CGD in the News

November 29, 2018

Africa: Angela Merkel has Done Much to Help Africa; Her Successor Should Continue the Relationship (All Africa)

By All Africa

From the article:

Last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the Federal Republic of Germany’s President, his Excellency, Frank-Walter Steinmmeier. This visit is a positive sign that Germany will continue to have a strong relationship with the African continent, even though one of the main champions of the relationship, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, announced in October that she will step down from her role in 2021.

And because it is hard to erase all her legacy as evidenced by the initiatives she has championed and the approach she has used, as well as the quality of aid Germany has extended to African countries, Merkel’s successor has all the reasons to continue building her legacy. In the event, this does not happen, the African Continent should look to further their relationships with other developed countries that by default are still invested in Africa, like. France and Canada, especially, those that were recently ranked high in the recently released Center for Global Development annual index.

Read the full article here


October 9, 2018

Australian aid in top ten for aid quality (DevPolicy)

By Sachini Muller, Terence Wood

From the article:

The recently-released 2018 Commitment to Development Index ranks some of the world’s richest countries by their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations. The index ranks countries across a range of areas. One of them is the quality of the aid a country gives. Each country’s aid quality score is based on the quality of a country’s bilateral aid as well as the quality of the multilateral organisations that it gives aid to. These aid quality scores come from the Quality of ODA dataset (QuODA) that the Center for Global Development also maintains.

QuODA ranks Australia at tenth out of 40 donors. This list includes multilateral aid organisations as well as country donors. If we only look at countries, Australia is ranked fourth out of 27 (New Zealand comes first). Australia’s overall score is 0.18, an average of its performance across 24 individual aid quality indicators. In this blog, we look at some of the indicators with a view to what, if anything, these data reveal about how well Australia gives aid. (For those interested in more details on QuODA or New Zealand’s ranking, see Terence Wood’s blog.)

Read the full article here.


October 9, 2018

Beyond Aid Budgets: What Canada can do to promote international development (Open Canada)

By Stephen Brown

From the article:

Of late, many commentators, from humble bloggers to the more august Toronto Star and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have lamented Canada’s relative lack of generosity in foreign aid and called on the Canadian government to increase the aid budget. 

Canada is indeed a laggard compared to its peers and the Trudeau government is less generous than previous Conservative and Liberal governments. Moreover, more money would provide the resources the current government needs to implement its ambitious Feminist International Assistance Policy and help translate its global leadership rhetoric into reality.

However, more aid is only part of what is required to meet the challenges of global development. Also essential is better aid, as well as a range of non-aid policies in rich countries. So, other than — or rather in addition to — increasing the aid budget, what should Canada do to promote the well-being of billions of people in developing countries? Two recent reports help chart the way.

The second recently published report focuses on such non-aid policies. Also released in September, the Center for Global Development’s 2018 Commitment to Development Index assesses and compares 27 rich countries’ records across seven issue areas that affect developing countries. Canada ranks 17th, down from seventh in 2005.

Read the full article here.


September 27, 2018

Economic diplomacy: Indonesia, climate and Abe (The Interpreter)

By Greg Earl 

From the article: 

Coming to the aid

Australia’s aid and immigration policies have won unaccustomed praise from a global survey of wealthy country development aid practices, in a reversal of the popular view that they damage the national image.

The country has risen four places to 14th in the Global Development Index published by the Washington-based Center for Global Development. Australia’s migration and aid policies were ranked even higher at eight and nine out of 27 with plaudits for the quality of the aid program. Migration integration and student entry policies were rated highly, but the management of refugees was criticised.

Australia’s highest ranking of three was for its trade policies, which made it the index leader in being open to trade with developing countries and having the second-lowest tariffs and agricultural subsidies.

The index reflects the new thinking (embraced under former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop) that the development process is about more than pure aid spending and can often be more effectively achieved by measures such as more open trade and labour mobility practices.

Australia’s ranking was held down largely because of its third-last ranking on environment, where the survey noted Australia had a poor rating on petrol taxation, tropical timber imports and greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

Read the full article here.


September 24, 2018

CDI 2018 News Coverage

Check out the CDI interactive to explore this year’s results.


Bright Magazine: The Countries Who Give the Most in Aid Aren't Necessarily Helping

From the article:

To get a sense of what the 2018 rankings tell us, BRIGHT Magazine spoke with Anita Käppeli, CGDev’s director of policy outreach for Europe, who composed and led the development of the CDI.


NPR: Why The U.S. Ranks At The Bottom In A Foreign Aid Index 

From the article:

According to an annual index released Tuesday by the Center for Global Development that ranks 27 of the world's wealthiest countries, the U.S. scored dead last on foreign aid contributions and quality — despite being the largest donor in dollar amount. That's because in 2017, it allocated a mere 0.18 percent of its gross national income for development assistance. That is well short of the 0.7 percent that wealthy countries have committed to strive for since 1970. (Only seven countries met or exceeded that target in 2016.) 


The Guardian: Australia's rank on global development index hurt by climate change inaction

From the article:

“Australia’s commitment to global development has improved over the past year, driven by strong trade, education and finance outreach to the developing world, but it has been criticised for its poor action on the environment and climate change.

The Centre for Global Development annually ranks 27 wealthy countries on their commitment to development across the policy areas of aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security and migration.”


Devex: Which countries are the most committed to development?

From the article:

Scandinavian countries are the most committed national development actors, according to this year’s Commitment to Development Index, which measures not just aid levels, but also how well other policies foster sustainable development. Germany ranked third, making it the first time a G-7 country is placed in the top three in CDI’s 15-year history. The United States, at 23rd, remains stagnant.


SDG Knowledge Hub: Northern European Countries Rank Highest Among Rich Countries that Help Poor

From the article: 

The Center for Global Development (CGD) has ranked 27 of the world’s richest countries on how their policies help people living in poor countries. The Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which is published annually, looks at policies beyond development aid to understand what countries are doing well to support the world’s poor and where countries can still learn from other approaches.


Save the Children: Assessing Aid and Policy Coherence

From the article: 

Another day, another index. On Monday, the Center for Global Development launched the 2018 Commitment to Development Index. Since 2003, this is a regular assessment of the development behaviours and policies of the richest countries. This 2018 index ranks Sweden at the top, with the UK at number 8 (down one place from 2017). All of the top 10 countries are European. Sweden and Denmark are still leading the table, while Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands moved up a few places. The USA remains way below in 23rd place and South Korea is at the bottom. 


SciDev: Rich Asia Pacific nations rank poorly on development policies

From the article:

The richer Asia-Pacific countries and the US do poorly on the 2018 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 27 wealthy countries according to how well their aidtradeenvironment and migration policies support low and middle-income countries in poverty alleviation, good governance and security.

Published annually by the Center for Global Development (CGD), the index is based on the benefits that policies of some members of the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Development Assistance Committee provide to about five billion people living in poor countries.


Sydney Morning Herald: Australia ranks in bottom three rich countries for environmental policies

From the article:

“Australia's status as one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world has contributed to a bottom three ranking for environmental policy among wealthy nations.

But Australia has jumped four places overall in the Center for Global Development's commitment to development index thanks to effective foreign aid spending and dedication to open trading relationships.”


Euractiv: EU countries top development policy charts

From the article:

Sweden, Denmark and Germany are the top three in the annual index by the Washington-based think-tank, which ranks 27 wealthy countries based on their policies on aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security and migration.


Development Today Magazine: Three Nordics top donor ranking. Norway penalised for ‘low quality of aid’

From the article:

Sweden has the best migration policies among donors and Denmark gets top marks for contributing to international peacekeeping, according to the Center for Global Development’s CDI index for 2018. Norway, which topped the UNDP index announced last week, ranks nr 12 on the CDI because of high oil and gas production, heavy agricultural subsidies and the “low quality” of its aid.


Sveriges Radio: Rapport: Sverige bäst på att bidra till global utveckling

From the article:

I dag publiceras en internationell rapport som rankar rika länders positiva påverkan på resten av världen och bidrag till global utveckling. I år är det Sverige som toppar listan.

De sju områden som den ansedda tankesmedjan Center for Global Development, CGD, sammanställer data om, är bistånd, miljö, handel, säkerhet, migration, teknik och ekonomi. Datan kommer från OECD, FN och ländernas egna myndigheter och arbetet resulterar i en årlig rapport, som Sverige alltså toppar i år. 


El País: Cae el compromiso de España con el desarrollo

From the article:

El compromiso de España con el desarrollo internacional descendió cuatro puestos, según los resultados de la nueva edición del Índice de Compromiso con el Desarrollo publicados este martes. Esto nos coloca en el puesto 16º de esta clasificación que mide y compara a los 27 países más ricos del mundo. La caída en el índice, elaborado con datos de 2017, viene causada principalmente por la baja cantidad y calidad de la Ayuda Oficial al Desarrollo (AOD) española. 


TSF Rádio Notícias: Portugal está no top 10 dos países com melhores políticas de desenvolvimento

From the article:

Portugal é vem em 9.º lugar na lista dos países que mais ajudam ao desenvolvimento, de acordo com o ranking Commitment to Development , do Centro para o Desenvolvimento Global. A tabela é liderada pela Suécia. 


August 19, 2018

Anita Käppeli: "Exclusion is expensive for the whole society" (Le Temps)

*Note: this article was translated from its original copy in French to English using Google Translate. 

By Ram Etwareea

The Center for Global Development, based in Washington, London and Brussels, tracks good and bad practices in international politics and cooperation. Switzerland's Anita Käppeli, a member of the board of directors, points out that poverty is declining in the world, but paradoxically, security and the environment are deteriorating

Since 1990, at least 1.1 billion people have emerged from poverty. But the other side of the coin is less glittering. According to Oxfam, one in ten people in the world lives below the UN's $ 1.90 per day poverty line - while 5% of the world's population share 60% of the income . The World Health Organization says half of the world does not have access to basic health services. And in the same vein, Unicef ​​deplores the fact that 60 million children do not have the slightest access to education.

Faced with this sad fact, rich countries and international organizations are not giving up. Last year, according to the OECD, they spent $ 146 billion fighting exclusion. But for Lucerne's Anita Käppeli, aid is not enough if the economic system is not inclusive. For the Director of the Research and Advocacy for Europe Division of the Center for Global Development, aid must go hand in hand with coherent economic and social policies in donor countries.

Le Temps: What do you mean by "inclusive economy"?

Anita Käppeli: It's an economic and social system that aims to end poverty not only in poor countries, but also in rich countries. Its components: a fair distribution of income, access to essential services (education, health, social protection), but also access to markets and the fight against corruption. An inclusive economy still ensures that population groups are not the losers of globalization, which is itself an awesome process of creating wealth and raising standards of living. 

Read the full article here.

January 23, 2018

Global Investment Agreements Flawed (Zambia Daily Mail)

From the article:

IN A world with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international investment policy system stands as an obsolete regime in urgent need of revision and reform. This is the main conclusion of the analysis that the think tank CIECODE conducted for CGD’s 2017 Commitment to Development Index (CDI).
The analysis measures the amount of “sustainable development content” included in International Investment Agreements (IIAs) signed between developing and developed countries. Here, we look at best practices, main issues and which countries could do better.
But, first, what do IIAs have to do with sustainable development? By balancing foreign investor’s protection on one hand and States’ right to pursue public policy interests on the other, IIAs have the capacity to influence the type of foreign investments and the conditions under which they are made. Foreign investments have been developing countries’ main source of external finance for the last two decades (beyond remittances, external debt, or ODA) and that they have concrete implications in host countries’ day-to-day realities (job creation, environmental impact, fiscal revenues generation, or the promotion of vulnerable social groups).
Worldwide, the investment regime is a complex spaghetti bowl made up of more than 3300 IIAs (mainly, Bilateral Investment Treaties and Free Trade Agreements), which has been expanding relentlessly since the early 80’s.
CIECODE has analysed over 300 IIAs signed by developing countries with the 27 CDI countries, and has observed that sustainable development is often poorly secured in these agreements. When IIAs include social or environmental safeguards, they are so weak and full of caveats that their impact is highly diminished. They are focused on protecting foreign investors’ rights and interests leaving aside their expertsobligations. Finally, they have failed in finding equilibrium between protecting foreign investors from unjustified discrimination measures by the host states and ensuring that these retain their right to regulate for pursuing public policy interests. This bias has prevented IIAs from becoming a useful tool to boost and promote sustainable investments at the global and domestic level.
CIECODE’s analysis also shows that IIAs signed with those developed countries most in need are the ones presenting the scarcest development content.

Read full article here.

October 27, 2017

Why Do Nations Invest In International Aid? Ask Norway. And China (Washington Post)

From the article:

How much are acts of generosity worth in international relations? For affluent countries, foreign aid has helped spread power and influence. Donors give foreign aid in part because it will benefit them. For example, political scientist Carol Lancasterfinds that domestic politics and international pressures combine to shape how and why donor governments give aid, and that aid was initially based on “hard-headed, diplomatic realism.”

The Trump administration’s proposal to slash foreign aid by more than one-third (including drastic cuts to global health and humanitarian aid) represents a major shift away from the goal of using aid to attain “smart power,” a strategy that supplements the ability to exercise brute force with efforts to win hearts and minds in far-off places. At the other end of the spectrum is Norway, a small but wealthy country, which has consistently tried to bolster its “soft power” ever since it helped broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine in the 1990s. Between these two extremes is China, which is using foreign aid to acquire greater soft power as it gears up for a more active role in world affairs...

As it struggles to better integrate foreign aid and national interests, Norway has been falling in the Center for Global Development’s rankings of countries committed to development — one of the most cited indexes among aid advocates and civil society organizations. Such results directly undermine its carefully cultivated image of being a humanitarian superpower.

Read full article here.