Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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November 6, 2006

China's Export-Import Bank and Africa: New Lending, New Challenges

China's bid for a leading role in Africa gained sudden visibility on the weekend with an unprecedented gathering of leaders from 48 African countries in Beijing. Chinese president Hu Jintao pledged to double aid and to offer $5 billion in loans by 2009. China's newly high-profile overtures towards Africa have raised eyebrows—and a fair bit of anxiety—among Africa’s traditional development partners. Will Chinese lending lead to a new African debt crisis? In a new CGD Note, senior fellow Todd Moss and research assistant Sarah Rose examine the growing clout of a little-known instrument of China's Africa policy, the Export-Import Bank of China, and offer some advice for the West. Learn more

October 30, 2006

Round Four of the MCA: Which Countries are Most Likely to Be Selected for FY2007?

This note explores the countries most likely to be selected for FY07 eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account. The authors also discuss key issues the Board will face this year, including deciding eligibility for the four countries with signed compacts that do not pass the indicator test. Most controversially, the authors think it is highly likely that the Board will select both Indonesia and Jordan, but they do not believe that either would be an appropriate choice.

October 26, 2006

Challenges and Opportunities for the New Executive Director of the Global Fund: Seven Essential Tasks

In its first four years, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has become one of the most important aid agencies in the world. As the Global Fund undergoes its first leadership transition, this CGD Working Group Report identifies seven tasks for the new Executive Director, starting from country operations, where ultimate results are achieved; through supporting arrangements (such as technical assistance, performance-based funding, procurement and supply chain strategies, and secretariat operations) and ending with the overarching issues of financing and Board relationships. The report offers specific recommendations for the new Executive Director and for the Board.

The Global Fund Working Group
October 13, 2006

Microfinance as Business - Working Paper 101(Revised November 2006)

Microfinance is a widely celebrated strategy for helping poor people in the developing world. Leading microfinance institutions, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank, reach millions of clients. CGD research fellow David Roodman and Uzma Qureshi analyze why some microfinance institutions succeed in covering costs, earning returns, attracting capital, and scaling up. They conclude that financial imperatives can explain much about how microfinance products are designed, for example, the common emphasis on group lending to women. Thus the business acumen of microfinance innovators is underappreciated. But more rigorous study is needed to understand when and where these design choices help clients.

David Roodman and Uzma Qureshi
October 6, 2006

Artificial States - Working Paper 100

The colonial legacy of artificial borders is often seen as an important cause of problems for developing countries. In this paper CGD non-resident fellow William Easterly and his co-authors quantify this effect. They find that countries with straight borders that divide ethnic groups--lines on maps--tend to be less successful economically and politically than countries with less arbitrary borders.Learn more

Alberto Alesina and Janina Matuszeski
September 22, 2006

Fixing International Financial Institutions: How Africa Can Lead the Way

In this CGD Note, CGD vice president Dennis de Tray and senior fellow Todd Moss argue that international financial institutions should transform their boards of resident executive directors into non-resident, non-executive bodies. Doing so would force the governing bodies to focus on their core responsibilities, increase accountability and reduce costs of all kinds. They urge the African Development Bank to go first. Learn more

Dennis de Tray and Todd Moss
September 7, 2006

Measuring Commitment to Health: Global Health Indicators Working Group Report

In response to a request from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, CGD convened the Global Health Indicators Working Group to examine potential measures of a government's commitment to health. The group's report recommends eight indicators for consideration by the MCC and other donors as they assess recipient countries' readiness to make effective use of foreign assistance. Learn more

Jessica Pickett and Ruth Levine
September 7, 2006

Building Africa's Development Bank: Six Recommendations for the AfDB and its Shareholders

Donald Kaberuka, the new president of the African Development Bank, leads an institution whose financial standing has been restored from the near collapse of 1995, but whose operational credibility remains a work-in-progress. This CGD working group report offers external, independent advice to Kaberuka and the Bank's board of directors on broad principles to guide the Bank’s renewal. The report contains six bold yet achievable recommendations for management and shareholders as they address the urgent task of reforming Africa's development bank. Prominent among the recommendations is a strong focus on infrastructure.

The AfDB Working Group
August 31, 2006

Advance Market Commitments for Vaccines Working Paper and Spread Sheet - Working Paper 98

Donors are considering committing in advance to purchase vaccines against diseases concentrated in low-income countries to spur research and development on vaccines for neglected diseases. How much money is needed? The authors of this paper find that a commitment comparable in size to the average sales of recently launched commercial products (adjusted for lower marketing costs)—about $3 billion per disease when products are at a relatively early stage in development —would be a highly cost-effective way to address major killers, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The paper includes a link to a Web-based spread sheet for readers to conduct their own sensitivity analysis.Learn more

August 21, 2006

The Investment Climate Facility for Africa: Does it Deserve U.S. Support?

The Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa was launched in June to help Africa tackle problems that hinder domestic and foreign investment. It aims to raise $550 million for promotion of property rights and financial markets, anti-corruption efforts, and reform of regulations, taxation, and customs. In this CGD Note, senior fellow Todd Moss lists the strengths of the proposal and asks tough questions, including: What exactly will the money be spent on? Why no independent evaluation? He concludes that the U.S. should support the facility--if convincing answers are forthcoming. Learn more

August 14, 2006

Fragile States and U.S. Foreign Assistance: Show Me the Money - Working Paper 96

Analysis of the U.S. budget reveals a chasm between Washington rhetoric about the potentially large threats arising from weak and failing states and the paucity of resources devoted to engaging with these troubled countries. The authors argue that the U.S. should think creatively about how and when to engage and should boost the $1.1 billion requested for these countries in the 2007 budget, regarding it as a form of venture capital, with high risks but potentially high rewards. Learn more

Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown
August 11, 2006

New data on African health professionals abroad - Working Paper 95

The migration of doctors and nurses from Africa to rich countries has raised fears of an African medical brain drain. Research on the issue has been hampered by lack of data. How many doctors and nurses have left Africa? Which countries did they leave? Where have they settled? To answer these questions, CGD researchers compiled the first dataset of cumulative bilateral net flows of African-born physicians and nurses to the nine most important destination countries. Learn more

Michael A. Clemens and Gunilla Pettersson
July 31, 2006

Development, Democracy, and Mass Killings - Working Paper 93

Do development and democracy lead to fewer massacres? By one estimate governments killed more than 170 million civilians in the 20th century – more than twice the number of soldiers killed in the century’s many wars. A new working paper co-authored by CGD non-resident fellow William Easterly using data from 1820 to 1998 finds that massacres are more likely at intermediate levels of income and less likely at very high levels of democracy. Episodes at the highest levels of democracy and income involve fewer victims. Learn more

July 24, 2006

A Primer on Foreign Aid - Working Paper 92

Controversies about aid effectiveness go back decades. This new working paper by CGD senior fellow Steven Radelet provides an introduction and overview of the basic concepts, data and key debates about foreign aid. It explores the range of views on the relationship between foreign aid and economic growth and discusses the reform of foreign aid, including selectivity, country ownership, the participatory approach, harmonization and coordination, and results-based management.Learn more

July 11, 2006

A Policymakers' Guide to Dutch Disease - Working Paper 91

It is sometimes claimed that big surges in aid might cause Dutch Disease--an appreciation of the real exchange rate which can slow the growth of a country's exports--and that aid increases might thereby harm a country's long-term growth prospects. In this new working paper CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that it is unlikely that a long-term, sustained and predictable increase in aid would, through the impact on the real exchange rate, do more harm than good. Learn more

July 6, 2006

Are the planned increases in aid too much of a good thing? - Working Paper 90

Donor countries have pledged to increase aid by 60 percent over the next five years, and larger increases would be needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Can developing countries use more aid effectively? In this new working paper, CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that the obstacles to effective use of significantly increased aid can be overcome by a small number of practical improvements in how aid is provided and used. Learn More

June 26, 2006

Competitive Proliferation of Aid Projects: A Model - Working Paper 89

When aid projects proliferate, donors often seek better oversight through smaller projects. While this may improve administration, it burdens recipient governments with reporting requirements and donor visits. CGD research fellow David Roodman suggests in a new working paper that big projects are best for countries that get more aid, have better governance, or have less revenue. He also shows how donors who care most about their own success tend to divide their aid portfolios into more, smaller projects to draw the recipient's resources away from other donors. This reduces development. Learn more

June 15, 2006

U.S. Assistance for Global Development

U.S. "development assistance" refers to the transfer of resources from the United States to developing countries and to some strategic allies. It is delivered in the form of money (via loans or grants), contributions of goods (such as food aid), and technical assistance. Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

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