This CGD brief summarizes the results of the 2008 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 22 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit the five billion people living in poorer nations. The Netherlands comes in first on the 2008 CDI on the strength of ample aid-giving, falling greenhouse gas emissions, and support for investment in developing countries. Close behind are three more big aid donors: Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
The global financial crisis and economic slowdown are subjecting poor countries to increased financial, price, and output volatility. How can the multilateral development banks help? A new CGD brief by visiting fellow Nancy Lee, non-resident fellow Guillermo Perry, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall makes the case for a broad range of new and expanded activities to help developing countries manage risk.
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Tripping Over Health: U.S. Policy on Patents and Drug Access in Developing Countries (White House and the World Policy Brief)
The United States can play an important role in promoting global development while simultaneously advancing American interests and prosperity. Intellectual property (IP) rights, such as patents and copyrights, provide protection against unauthorized copying and are therefore fundamental to creating a policy environment conducive for innovation. But this protection creates challenges for developing countries by limiting access to needed products and by misaligning incentives for innovation. The next U.S. president should come down clearly in favor of a new policy that better balances public health needs in developing countries with private incentives for innovative activities.
Improving education should be a part of the global development agenda of the next U.S. president. While aid for primary education has always appealed to U.S. policymakers and the public and is consistent with American values of expanding opportunity for all, U.S. aid for education has languished in the past two decades. Aid for health has increased six-fold while aid for education has grown by only a third. The next president should consider announcing U.S. support for a big international push to expand quality primary schooling in low-income countries so that all children have the chance to learn.
More Growth with More Income Equality in the Americas: Can Regional Cooperation Help? (White House and the World Policy Brief)
The next U.S. president has a great opportunity to lead regional economic integration in the Americas, to the benefit of both the United States and Latin America. For the Americas, the high hopes of a decade ago for a hemispheric trade agreement have faded, along with confidence in the region’s ability to act collectively to address fundamental economic challenges. The model for integration outlined here is a regional investment standards agreement—a collective effort to set common standards for key microeconomic policies affecting both domestic and foreign businesses.
Why Global Development Matters and What the Next U.S. President Should Do About It (White House and the World Policy Brief)
The need for a fresh American approach to development has never been more urgent. The economic crisis at home, the threat of failed states and hostile countries acquiring nuclear weapons, our inability to solve critical global problems like climate change alone—all these mean that America needs to find ways to engage with the developing world that go beyond our outdated aid mechanisms and our narrow focus on such issues as terrorism, narcotics, and illegal immigrants. Our economic growth, our security, and our ability to shape the new multilateral system all depend on our readiness to forge new, mutually beneficial alliances with a broad range of developing countries. To engage effectively, we must offer these countries more effective partnerships on their own development challenges.
Getting the Focus Right: U.S. Leadership in the Fight against Global Corruption (White House and the World Policy Brief)
The United States has played a leadership role in the fight against global corruption, and there aremany reasons to be hopeful about this effort. Nonetheless, corruption continues to seriously impede development efforts around the world, and the critical task of combating it will require both long-term commitment and strong support from the next U.S. administration.
Many Americans see trade openness as a threat. Yet access to rich-country markets is crucial for poor people in developing countries to improve their lives. In a new CGD brief based on her essay in The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott suggests a trade policy approach that would address Americans’ concerns and still be pro-poor. One ingredient: treat market access for the world’s poorest countries as a development issue, not trade policy.
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Opportunities for Presidential Leadership on AIDS: From an "Emergency Plan" to a Sustainable Policy (White House and the World Policy Brief)
U.S. spending on global AIDS is widely seen as a significant foreign policy and humanitarian success, but this success contains the seeds of a future crisis. Treatment costs are set to escalate dramatically and new HIV infections continue to outpace the number of people receiving treatment. Three bad options thus loom ahead for U.S. foreign policy: indefinitely increase foreign assistance spending on an open-ended commitment, eliminate half of other foreign aid programs, or withdraw the medicine that millions of people depend upon to stay alive. CGD senior fellow Mead Over provides another option: implementing a sustainable policy that concentrates on prevention in order to drastically cut new infections while sustaining the reduction in AIDS-related deaths.
Why should the United States care about economic growth in Africa? Because it is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Helping to spur economic growth in Africa promotes our values, enhances our security, and helps create economic and political opportunities for the people of the continent. Public interest in Africa is higher than ever—witness consumer movements such as Product Red—and bipartisan political support recently renewed funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Several new opportunities now exist for U.S. firms to compete and benefit from a win-win partnership with the region.
The next president can secure a place in history by mobilizing America to confront climate change, while starting a clean energy revolution that will strengthen American security and create the next wave of economic growth. The president should seize this opportunity because climate change presents a mortal threat: left unchecked, global warming will undermine the hard-won achievements of developing countries, inflict severe damage on the United States and other rich nations, and destabilize so many societies that the international system will be threatened. CGD senior fellow David Wheeler shows how to turn the threat into an opportunity for greatness.
Healthy Foreign Policy: Bringing Coherence to the Global Health Agenda (White House and the World Policy Brief)
Faced with many urgent challenges, the next U.S. president may be tempted to let global health issues bubble along on the back burner and simply allow reasonably well-funded programs that garner bipartisan support to continue unchanged. This would be a mistake. Instead, the president should set an ambitious course to improve global health by leveraging the full range of U.S. assets to create a more just and safe world.
Don't Close the Golden Door: Making Immigration Policy Work for Development (White House and the World Policy Brief)
International movements of people can spark and sustain the development process in poor countries, helping people climb out of poverty. Creating opportunities for poor people to improve their lives promotes our values, enhances our security,and restores our faltering image abroad. The next president of the United States has an opportunity to advance a migration agenda that is one of several pillars of our leadership position on global development. CGD research fellow Michael Clemens shows how.
Meeting today’s foreign policy challenges requires a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas, and ingenuity. It calls for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our ideals, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America’s image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on defense and security to meet these goals. CGD senior policy analyst Sheila Herrling and senior fellow Steve Radelet argue instead that we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft, including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.
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.
Why do new democracies sometimes fail? This CGD brief by visiting fellow Ethan Kapstein explores the underlying reasons for frequent backsliding in the world's fledgling democracies and offers the international community recommendations for helping them stay on track toward political stability. Kapstein argues that the international community should encourage political arrangements in which government leaders are constrained by effective checks and balances, and economic policies that help to ensure that the benefits of growth are widely shared.