This past weekend, Secretary Kerry delivered what was billed as a major address on US-Africa policy and a scene setter for President Obama’s Africa Summit in August. Kerry traveled throughout the region over the last week, making stops in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. As the list of countries suggest, the trip focused heavily on security hotspots. However, the so-called ‘Commitment to Africa’ speech was his big opportunity to reach beyond current crises and outline his broader vision for US engagement in the region. So, did he hit the right notes?
CGD Policy Blogs
The Rethinking US Development Policy team has launched a new tool: “US Development Initiatives: Where in The World Are They?” This allows users to geographically explore US development policy efforts as well as the quantity of aid commitments, and the magnitude of trade and investment.
Following its recent 90 percent GDP adjustment, Nigeria is now a solidly middle-income country. With an income per capita of $2,700, it now stands alongside countries like the Philippines and Morocco. Not exactly a rich country per se, but with a GDP of roughly $500 billion, it’s far from an impoverished one in terms of national resources. With donors providing $2 billion a year in aid to Nigeria, this raises the natural question: If Nigeria is significantly wealthier than previously thought, then should we still be providing large-scale assistance there?
Last week President Obama’s Global Development Council at long last held its first official, public meeting at the National Press Club in Washington. For those of you who don’t remember (and you’ll be excused for forgetting), President Obama signed an executive order that formally established the Council in February 2012, although the Council’s origin story dates back to the 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development.
While I was plowing through Morten Jerven’s enlightening book Poor Numbers last year, my mind concentrated on Nigeria. It stayed with Nigeria. At that time, I was consumed with figuring out what on earth was going on with Nigeria’s poverty figures. How was it possible for the country to experience growth in both its GDP and extreme poverty rates at the same time?
Bipartisan support for the Electrify Africa Act (HR. 2548) recently got a further boost when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its cost estimate.
This August, President Obama will host 47 African Heads of State in Washington. The agenda will focus heavily on promoting greater trade and investment ties between the US and the region’s fast growing economies. Amongst other things, this emphasis will play a critical role for the Obama Administration’s Power Africa Initiative and plans for modernizing the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Our recent paper suggesting that there are stark tradeoffs between energy access and pursuing a renewables-only energy strategy has attracted a lot of attention. We responded to Michael Levi’s post on CFR.org here, but it seems worth addressing some of the other critiques, notably this detailed post by UC Berkeley’s Daniel Kammen, that have challenged our projections and findings.