Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

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
November 26, 2007

Reviving Economic Growth in Liberia - Working Paper 133

In this new CGD working paper, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet explores the challenges Liberia faces in revitalizing economic growth after 25 years of gross economic mismanagement and 14 years of brutal civil war. He examines the new government's progress, including the major steps it has taken in its first 18 months and the unique way that it has organized government-donor relations. Based upon patterns of post-conflict recovery in several other African countries, he suggests that Liberia's recovery is likely to proceed in three phases: an immediate phase driven by aid and rebounding urban services; renewal of traditional natural resource-based activities; and, finally, processed products and other goods and services that can compete on global markets. Radelet writes from a unique perspective: he is serving as an advisor to Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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April 16, 2007

Liberia's External Debt: Moving Towards Comprehensive Debt Relief

In this essay, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet describes Liberia's debt situation and the key issues in moving forward on debt relief with the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank and bilateral creditors. He explains why it is important for Liberia's recovery that the international community act quickly and outlines the key steps necessary for Liberia to achieve a debt deal before the end of 2007.

March 8, 2007

Do No Harm: Aid, Weak Institutions, and the Missing Middle in Africa - Working Paper 113

Does aid to Africa undermine the emergence of a robust African middle class? If so, what can be done about it? In this new working paper, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argues that high and unpredictable aid flows could be making life harder for Africa's small and medium-sized businesses by, for example, inflating wages and making governments less reliant on domestic revenue—and hence less accountable to taxpayers. She urges that donors systematically monitor such impacts in aid-dependent countries and suggests ways that aid could help to bolster Africa's crucial but fragile middle-income groups. Learn more

March 5, 2007

African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors

Bill Easterly calls Moss's new introduction to Africa "compulsively readable and accessible" and "a masterpiece of clear thinking." Each chapter is organized around three fundamental questions: Where are we now? How did we get to this point? What are the current debates?

December 6, 2006

Freetown to Hollywood: The Kimberley Process Takes on Africa's 'Blood Diamonds'

Diamonds, long seen as symbols of love and prosperity, are now blamed for war and corruption in some of the poorest places on earth. But do all diamonds fuel conflict and strife? In this CGD Note program associate Kaysie Brown and senior fellow Todd Moss consider the strengths and limitations of industry efforts to break the deadly link between diamonds and conflict, most notably through the Kimberley Process, which certifies that a diamond has been obtained legitimately. They find that the Kimberley Process, which has helped turn conflict diamonds into development diamonds, is a good thing but it could be even better. They also offer consumers tips on how to buy conflict-free diamonds.

Kaysie Brown and Todd Moss
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
May 26, 2006

Will Debt Relief Make a Difference? Impact and Expectations of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative - Working Paper 88

The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), the latest phase of debt reduction for poor countries from the World Bank, the IMF, and the African Development Bank, will come close to full debt reduction for at least 19 and perhaps as many as 40 countries. Debt relief proponents see it as a momentous leap in the battle against global poverty. CGD research fellow Todd Moss argues that actual gains in poverty reduction will be modest and slow.

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Cover of Short of the Goal: U.S. Policy and Poorly Performing States
May 23, 2006

Short of the Goal: U.S. Policy and Poorly Performing States

This new collection of essays sets an agenda for increased American effectiveness in dealing with failed states to promote economic development and international security. It includes an overview of the poorly understood challenge of weak and failed states and case studies by regional policy experts, then offers recommendations for reform of U.S. foreign and development policy to better meet the challenges posed by weak states.

Nancy Birdsall , Milan Vaishnav and Robert L. Ayres
Cover of On the Brink, Weak States and US National Security
June 8, 2004

On the Brink, Weak States and US National Security

A Report of the Commission for Weak States and US National Security

Terrorists training at bases in Afghanistan and Somalia. Transnational crime networks putting down roots in Myanmar/Burma and Central Asia. Poverty, disease, and humanitarian emergencies overwhelming governments in Haiti and Central Africa. A common thread runs through these disparate crises that form the fundamental foreign policy and security challenges of our time. These crises originate in, spread to, and disproportionately affect developing countries where governments lack the capacity, and sometimes the will, to respond.

These weak and failed states matter to American security, American values, and the prospects for global economic growth upon which the American economy depends.

Jeremy M. Weinstein , John Edward Porter and Stuart E. Eizenstat