The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President shows how modest changes in U.S. policies could greatly improve the lives of poor people in developing countries, thus fostering greater stability, security, and prosperity globally and at home. Center for Global Development experts offer fresh perspectives and practical advice on trade policy, migration, foreign aid, climate change and more. In an introductory essay, CGD President Nancy Birdsall explains why and how the next U.S. president must lead in the creation of a better, safer world.
While the precise contribution of biofuels to surging food prices is difficult to know, policies promoting production of the current generation of biofuels are not achieving their stated objectives of increased energy independence or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Reaching the congressionally mandated goal of blending 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels in gasoline by 2015 would consume roughly 40 percent of the corn crop (based on recent production levels) while replacing just 7 percent of current gasoline consumption. The food crisis adds urgency to the need to change these policies but does not change the basic fact that there is little justification for the current set of policies.
The Structural Transformation as a Pathway out of Poverty: Analytics, Empirics and Politics - Working Paper 150
Successful poverty reduction hinges on successful structural transformation, but poor countries must cope with political pressures resulting from deteriorating income distribution and simultaneously retain the policies that generate rapid economic growth. Based on historical and statistical evidence, CGD non-resident fellow Peter Timmer and Selvin Akkus argue for enacting policies to do just that: policies that value the many non-market payoffs of investment in agriculture, the main driver of short- and medium-term poverty reduction; context-specific policies to connect rural workers to urban economies to reduce rural poverty in the long term; and fairer rich-world agricultural trade policies to allow small farmers better access to domestic supply chains.
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.
The Commitment to Development Index for Africa: How Much Do the Richest Countries Help the Poorest Continent?
How committed are the world's richest countries to the development of Africa, the world's poorest continent? Rich countries are usually compared on how much foreign aid they give as a percentage of their GDP, but helping Africa involves much more than aid. CGD's Commitment to Development Index has long compared 21 rich countries on aid, trade, migration, and other policies that affect the entire developing world. In the new CDI for Africa, research fellow David Roodman trains the CDI methodology on rich countries' links to this one continent. While the results may not be what you expect, one message is clear: all rich countries could do much more to foster development in Africa.
The loss of rice production in Myanmar is worsening the crisis in world rice markets, where prices have trebled this year. Meanwhile, Japan has 1.5 million tons of surplus rice, most of it imported from the U.S. Releasing this rice to global markets would prick a speculative bubble and bring rice prices down fast, while also encouraging China and Thailand to release their surplus stocks. But first Washington must lift its objections and Japan must decide to re-export rice that it imported from the U.S., Thailand, and Vietnam. Failure to act would mean that high-quality U.S. rice would be fed to Japanese pigs and chickens while millions of poor people suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Tom Slayton, a former editor of The Rice Trader, and Peter Timmer, CGD non-resident fellow and visiting professor at Stanford University, explain how prompt action could prevent the rice price crisis from becoming a hunger crisis.