Ideas to Action:

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May 17, 2005

Reflections on "Our Common Interest," The Report of the Commission on Africa

CGD President Nancy Birdsall testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 on the Commission for Africa report initiated by Tony Blair. She suggested the U.S. should prepare a package of Africa-related initiatives for the UK-hosted G-8 Summit in July covering areas such as peace and security, advance market commitments for vaccines; debt relief, trade, and aid delivery. Sen. Lugar praised the proposal for an advance market commitment for vaccines. "This is an extraordinary idea and I thank you for bringing it to our attention," he said.

May 9, 2005

Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Development?

Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Development? gathers together the cutting edge of new research on FDI and host country economic performance and presents the most sophisticated critiques of current and past inquiries.

Theodore H. Moran , Edward M. Graham and Magnus Blomström
April 28, 2005

Adjusting to the MFA Phase-Out: Policy Priorities

In this brief we focus on potential disruptions in poor countries and the policy priorities for coping with them. In particular, we recommend that the United States, which is the only rich country that does not grant tariff-free access for imports from all least-developed countries, provide this access as quickly as possible. In addition, to take advantage of any resulting opportunities, beneficiary countries must adopt domestic reforms to encourage greater productivity.

Debapriya Bhattacharya and Kimberly Ann Elliott
April 26, 2005

Addressing the Challenge of HIV/AIDS: Macroeconomic, Fiscal and Institutional Issues - Working Paper 58

After decades of neglect the HIV/AIDS epidemic has rightly become one of the highest priorities on the global agenda. Funding pledges from the donors have doubled resource commitments between 2002 and 2004 to over $6 billion. That surge in funding belies the volatile nature of contributions to HIV/AIDS initiatives at the country level. The paper analyzes the impacts of abrupt HIV/AIDS funding on macroeconomic stability, fiscal health and the development of health institutions.

April 26, 2005

Connecting the Poor to Economic Growth: Eight Key Questions

It has long been understood that economic growth is the essential foundation for poverty reduction. The key to income growth is the expansion of jobs that pay sustainable remunerative wages, and the two keys areas of production in this vein have almost always been agriculture and labor-intensive manufactured exports. Rising average incomes, both personal and national, are a necessary ingredient for improved livelihoods, but they do not guarantee broad-based poverty reduction. Economic history shows that countries, and communities within countries, with similar growth rates can have very different degrees of success in connecting growth to the poor and translating it into sustained poverty reduction.

Sarah Lucas and Peter Timmer
April 7, 2005

Making Markets for Vaccines - Ideas to Action (Brief)

New medicines are usually financed by a mixture of public funding by governments, philanthropic giving, and investment by private firms. Private investment is especially important in paying for and managing the later stages of clinical trials, regulatory approval, and investment in manufacturing capacity. But for diseases that mainly affect people in developing countries, the prospective sales market is tiny—and not sufficient to justify commercially the large scale investment that is needed to develop new products.

An advance market commitment to accelerate the development of vaccines for diseases concentrated in developing countries, donors could make a binding commitment to pay for a desired vaccine if and when it is developed. This advance market commitment would mean firms could invest in finding a vaccine with the confidence that if they succeed there would be a market for the product.

April 7, 2005

Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action

Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action presents the proposal from theory to practice, by showing how a commitment can be consistent with ordinary legal and budgetary principles. A draft contract term sheet is included, highlighting the key elements of a credible guarantee.

Advance Market Commitment Working Group
April 5, 2005

Autonomous Recovery and International Intervention in Comparative Perspective - Working Paper 57

There is growing recognition that significant threats to collective security emerge not only from competition among great powers, but also from the disorder, violence, and oppression wrought by governments (or occurring in the absence of effective governance) across the developing world. Scholars have responded by proposing new models of intervention—including neo-trusteeship and shared sovereignty—that respond to these failures of governance. But these calls for intervention rest on two underlying assumptions that have escaped serious consideration: the idea the countries cannot recover from conflict on their own and the argument that intervention is the best strategy for state-building. In this article, I define and describe a process of autonomous recovery in which states achieve a lasting peace, a systematic reduction in violence, and post-war political and economic development in the absence of international intervention.

Jeremy Weinstein
April 1, 2005

Gold for Debt: What's New and What Next?

This new CGD Note by Center for Global Development President Nancy Birdsall and Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow John Williamson argues that sale of a portion of IMF gold makes sense as a way to create a more transparent institution and use a global resource for debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.

John Williamson
April 1, 2005

Big Sugar and the Political Economy of US Agricultural Policy

Sugar is a prototypical case of a policy that favors the few at the expense of the many. Thanks to a government policy that supports prices by sharply restricting imports, a small number of American sugar cane and beet growers are enriched at the expense of US consumers and of more efficient foreign growers, most of whom are in poorer developing countries.

April 1, 2005

Resolving Nigeria’s Debt Through a Discounted Buyback

Nigeria has $33 billion in external debt. The government has been trying unsuccessfully for years to cut a deal with creditors to reduce its external obligations but to date has only managed to gain non-concessional restructuring. The major creditors also have good reasons for wanting to seek a resolution, yet agreement has been elusive. Fortunately, there is a brief window of opportunity in 2005 to find a compromise that can meet the needs of both sides. This note briefly outlines a proposal for striking such a deal through a discounted debt buyback.

Cover of Overcoming Stagnation in Aid-Dependent Countries
March 31, 2005

Overcoming Stagnation in Aid-Dependent Countries

In this book, Nicolas van de Walle identifies 26 countries that are extremely poor and grew little if at all in the 1990s. His sample excludes North Korea and countries where civil war explains some of their failure to grow (Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tajikistan and others). The 26 countries have limited infrastructure and human capital and the small size of their markets deter private savings and investment. Aid was meant to help overcome these problems, and these countries received a lot. Yet they have failed to grow. What is wrong? Is foreign aid a solution or part of the problem? What changes might make aid more effective? Given these countries require the financial and technical resources of the West, why haven’t aid programs made a difference?

March 23, 2005

Overcoming Stagnation in Aid-Dependent Countries - Brief

Traditional economic theory predicts that capital mobility and international trade will push the world's national economies to one income level. As poorer nations race ahead, richer ones should slow down. Eventually, theory says, national economies would reach equilibrium. The reality of the last few decades, however, defies this notion; most of the poorest economies continue to lag far behind. For 50 years, foreign aid has been the main way the international community has promoted economic development. Yet it has not proven to be a silver bullet.

March 3, 2005

No Child Left Behind-Anywhere

"No Child Left Behind" could move from a national program to a global mission if several current policies and initiatives converge: the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account, and the renewed declarations of the Bush administration, supported by U.S. public opinion.

March 1, 2005

Double Standards on IDA and Debt: The Case for Reclassifying Nigeria

Although nearly all poor countries are classified by the World Bank as IDA-only, Nigeria stands out as a notable exception. Indeed, Africa’s most populous country is the poorest country in the world that is not classified as IDA-only. Under the World Bank’s own criteria, however, Nigeria has a strong case for reclassification. IDA-only status would have two potential benefits for Nigeria. First, it would expand Nigeria’s access to IDA resources and make the country eligible for grants. Second, it would strengthen Nigeria’s case for debt reduction. With a renewed economic reform effort getting under way and the emerging use of debt reduction as a tool for assisting economic and political transitions, the UK, the US, and other official creditors should support such a move as part of a broader strategy for encouraging progress in one of Africa’s most important countries.

Todd Moss and Scott Standley

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