CGD Policy Blogs
Last week, a high-powered group of investors, foundations, and academics called for the establishment of a US Development Finance Bank – which would combine existing programs at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID, the US Trade and Development Agency, and the Treasury Department.
Within the last two weeks, top American and Chinese officials completed major trips to Sub-Saharan Africa. In classic Chinese style, Premier Li signed a laundry list of commercial deals and bilateral agreements across four countries.
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?
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?
Trade policy is one of America’s most potent development tools, particularly for the world’s poorest countries. The big question has always been how best to use it. Should the US give away duty-free access to its $17 trillion market? Essentially opening the door to anyone in the hopes of benefitting as many people as possible.
This is shaping up to be a big year for US trade policy. Most eyes are on potential deals with the Pacific Rim and Europe (and reeling from Senator Reid’s latest blow to their prospects). Those of us concerned with trade as a driver for development should also be watching Congress’ and the Obama Administration’s review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Of the many outcomes in the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations legislation, one that stood out was buried in section 7081. This provision now allows the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to invest in fossil fuel power projects in IDA and IDA-blend countries. In other words, OPIC’s carbon cap has been lifted at least until the end of September.
This is a joint post with Erin Collinson.
President Obama will deliver his 2014 State of the Union speech Tuesday, January 28. We polled CGD experts to find out what they’re hoping to hear when the president addresses Congress and the nation. Check out their oratorical contributions below and read about the development-related decisions and policies they would like to emerge in support of the rhetoric.