Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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April 11, 2012

Supporting Private Business Growth in African Fragile States: A Guiding Framework for the World Bank Group in South Sudan and Other Nations

In this report, Benjamin Leo, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Ross Thuotte assess the bank’s private-sector interventions in African fragile states. They summarize and analyze project-level data from IDA, IFC, and MIGA, and introduce a new framework to assist in the design and implementation of projects in fragile states.

December 19, 2011

Economic Dynamics and Forest Clearing: A Spatial Econometric Analysis for Indonesia - Working Paper 280

David Wheeler and co-authors use detailed monthly data from FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) to determine the factors that contribute to deforestation in Indonesia. Their results highlight the importance of incorporating economic dynamics into financial compensation arrangements for forest conservation while casting doubt on the efficacy of tradition protection arrangements.

David Wheeler , Dan Hammer , Robin Kraft and Susmita Dasgupta
May 19, 2011

Declining Inequality in Latin America: Some Economics, Some Politics - Working Paper 251

New research shows that inequality in Latin America is falling. In this paper, the authors summarize recent findings, analyze the affect of different regimes, and investigate the relationship between inequality and changes in the size of the middle class in the region. They conclude with some questions about whether and how changes in income distribution and in middle-class economic power will affect the politics of distribution in the future.

March 30, 2010

A Doing Business Facility: A Proposal for Enhancing Business Climate Reform Assistance

Africa remains extremely difficult for entrepreneurs. Donors are increasingly targeting assistance to address the investment-climate constraints that hinder private-sector growth. This report lays out the case for promoting investment climate reforms more strategically, various options for implementing a system to do so, and possible institutional homes for the proposed facility.

The Supporting Business Climate Reforms Working Group
June 16, 2008

Integration in the Americas: One Idea for Plan B (Essay)

In this CGD Essay, visiting fellow Nancy Lee provides the full details and policy recommendations for a strategy of regional investment integration in the Americas. The essay, excerpted from her chapter in the forthcoming White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, builds on a previously published CGD Note by specifying the scope of the proposed agreement, outlining its expected gains, and identifying the initial steps the United States could take to encourage a fresh agreement to be reached.

June 3, 2008

Integration in the Americas: One Idea for Plan B (Note)

Unlike East Asia and Europe, Latin America lacks a shared integration strategy and continues to struggle with a burdensome investment climate. In this new CGD Note, visiting fellow Nancy Lee suggests a fresh approach to regional integration in the form of a proposed regional investment agreement. The idea is a collective effort to set common standards for reducing specific barriers to domestic and foreign investment. Beyond its benefits for growth, such an agreement could boost the incomes of the poor by helping small businesses trapped in the informal sector move into the more productive formal sector.

March 31, 2008

Power and Roads for Africa

CGD senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran argues in this essay that the next U.S. president can play a valuable role in helping Africa to overcome two crucial barriers to poverty reduction: lack of power and lack of roads. Ramachandran urges the next president to create a $1 billion Clean Energy Fund for Africa to facilitate the transfer of U.S. infrastructure technology, including renewable energy; and to encourage the World Bank and the African Development Bank to focus on cross-country regional infrastructure projects, also with a strong emphasis on clean technology. The essay is included in a forthcoming CGD volume: The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President.

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February 19, 2008

U.S. Assistance to Africa and the World: What Do the Numbers Say?

With President Bush's trip to Africa making headlines this week, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet and research assistant Sami Bazzi offer a close look at the latest U.S. foreign assistance numbers. Bottom line: although America's aid has more than doubled since 2000, the new money went mostly to Iraq, Afghanistan and a small number of debt relief operations; and almost all was allocated through bilateral rather than multilateral channels. Assistance to Africa more than quadrupled from $1.5 billion in 1996 to $6.6 billion in 2006 and has been enormously important in funding humanitarian relief and HIV/AIDS programs. But even with the increases, U.S. assistance to Africa still averages less than $9 per African per year. And U.S. assistance for Africa has become less selective: since 2000 the shares going to the poorest countries and to the best-governed countries have fallen.

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February 19, 2008

The Good News Out of Africa: Democracy, Stability, and the Renewal of Growth and Development

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will host President Bush on Thursday in the final stop of his five-country Africa tour, has news that may surprise some people: despite the problems in some African countries, things are clearly improving in much of the continent. In a new CGD essay co-authored with senior fellow Steve Radelet, Sirleaf describes how a growing number of African countries are embracing democracy and good governance, strengthening macroeconomic policies, and benefiting from debt relief. These countries are in the midst of an economic and development rebound, with economic growth averaging 5 percent for a decade, poverty rates beginning to fall, and social indicators beginning to improve. The essay concludes with recommendations on how this progress can be sustained and consolidated.

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Steven Radelet

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