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CGD provides rigorous research and innovative policy approaches that enable migrants, refugees, and hosts communities to prosper.
Forced displacement is at historic levels as a result of global conflict and crises. Meanwhile economic migration—a known driver of development—has been demonized as part of the backlash against globalization. As nations work toward the Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees, governments and international agencies are struggling to respond to the scale of need and the polarization of attitudes.
First and foremost, the impact of migration is a policy choice: With the right policies, migrants and refugees can fuel economic growth in both the countries they live in and leave behind. CGD brings rigorous research and evidence to these contentious political issues and designs policy approaches that enable migrants, refugees, and their hosts to prosper.
As leaders from the world's most powerful nations prepare to gather in St. Petersburg, Russia, this weekend, observers with even a modicum of memory could be forgiven for wondering whether the leaders suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). After all, it was only one year ago that G-8 leaders met in Gleneagles, Scotland, and--against the background of a massive popular anti-poverty campaign--agreed to do more to reduce global poverty.
CGD senior program associate Owen Barder read the flurry of reports assessing whether the G-8 leaders had followed through on their pledges and offered his own thoughtful summary scorecard. Bottom line:
Trade: Progress has been disappointing with the near collapse of the Doha Round trade talks that were supposed to address inequities in the global trading system. CGD research fellow Kimberly Elliott has criticized a "lack of leadership" at the trade talks in Geneva. A strong statement on the need for a successful conclusion to the round by the G-8 leaders in St. Petersburg could help reinvigorate the talks. But Russia isn't even a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and had been hoping to use the G-8 meeting to push its bid for membership. In a situation like that, and with none of the big emerging market countries included in the G-8, it's hard to imagine serious attention to developing country trade concerns.
Debt: "Promises have been kept and debt relief is making a difference, though this is of little importance overall," Barder writes. "The multilateral debt relief initiative will cancel debts of forty of the poorest countries owed to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank. Nigeria has had the largest debt relief deal in history--thanks in part to supportive CGD analysis. "But debt relief is relatively small beer in financial terms--this whole initiative works out about the same as a 1 percent increase in total aid spending," Barder writes.
Aid: On increases in aid, and improvements in aid quality, Barder notes that little of substance was promised in Gleneagles, and less has been delivered. He's right, but it’s hard to square that with the high-sounding rhetoric and the high expectations of last year's summit.
One area where the G-8 could still snatch a victory for development from the jaws of defeat is to follow through on plans to make an advance market commitment for a vaccine to protect people from one of several diseases that annually kill millions of people in the developing word. By making such a commitment, rich countries and other donors could create an incentive for private companies to invest in research and development, thereby speeding the delivery of an effective vaccine.
As Barder notes in a separate post on The G-8 and Advance Market Commitments the official communiqué issued by the G-8 finance ministers after their meeting in April said: "Having endorsed the concept of a pilot Advance Market Commitments for vaccines, we call for the additional work necessary to make its launch possible in 2006." Supporters of the idea are hoping that G-8 leaders will name a specific disease and commit a specific amount of money to purchase vaccines, when and if they become available. Among the possible targets for such a commitment: TB, HIV, malaria, and pneumococcal diseases, primarily pneumonia and meningitis, which alone kill an estimated one million children a year.
There is widespread support for the idea, which draws on the report of a CGD working group, Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action. A joint op-ed by former senior officials to ex-presidents Clinton and Bush appeared recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, and was picked up Boing Boing, a leading blog. Meanwhile, the Financial Times ran a joint article by the president and CEO of BIO Ventures for Global Health, and the director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, urging governments to proceed with the plan. A favorable July 2006 article in Scientific American traced the origin of the idea to work by Harvard professor and CGD non-resident fellow Michael Kremer.
Given the combination of a technical consensus on the merits of the idea and broad support from key stakeholders--including from their own finance ministers--will the G-8 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg finally move forward with an advance market commitment for vaccines? Do they even remember that in Gleneagles they asked their finance ministers to investigate and come back with a solid proposal? Signs are not very encouraging. Barder cites a Reuters report that progress has been tied up by political horse-trading and domestic funding questions. Of course, these are the sorts of problems that global summits were designed to overcome. It is just possible that the G-8 leaders will do the right thing. Here's hoping.
The Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 21 countries across six policy areas, is widely seen as the most comprehensive and substantive measure of rich country policies towards development. In response to requests from other would-be index builders, CDI architect David Roodman describes the work of the interdisciplinary team that builds and runs the Index. Among the lessons: to work well, policy indexes must combine humility with a clear sense of purpose.
Please see the bottom of this page for a preliminary and partial summary of the survey results.
The Center for Global Development (CGD) is conducting an anonymous mail survey of all African-born physicians in North America who are members of the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association, as well as several thousand African-born registered nurses in five US states. The survey will be conducted between May and July 2006.
CGD is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research institute in Washington, DC. We do academic research on how rich countries' policies can do more to reduce poverty in the developing world. Most of our work, including this survey, is funded by independent philanthropists with no agenda other than supporting high-quality research relevant to policy. Learn more about CGD and its history, mission, and funders.
The purpose of the survey is to better inform academic research about the complex effects of the emigration of African professionals on their countries of origin. Frequently, public discussion of these effects focuses on simple effects, presumed to be negative--African health professionals who live abroad are not spending most of their time providing health care in Africa, whereas the positive effects tend to be ignored. Migrant professionals often send money to their home countries, travel back to their home countries, invest in their home countries, and sometimes move back permanently to their home countries with newly acquired skills and wealth. In this survey we hope to document and measure some of these more complex, positive effects. We thus ask questions about the extent of interaction African-born health professionals abroad have with their countries of origin.
We are conducting this survey purely for academic ends. The questionnaire is completely anonymous. We do not request, nor attempt in any way to obtain, the identity of survey respondents. Our only interest lies in estimating general characteristics of the entire population of African health professionals in North America, as a group.
Who is running the survey
This survey is being conducted by two CGD research staff members: Michael Clemens, PhD, and Gunilla Pettersson. Dr. Clemens is a Research Fellow at the Center. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 2002 and specializes in the study of economic development and economic history. Access Dr. Clemens' bio and writings. Ms. Pettersson is a Research Assistant at the Center, and holds her master's degree in economics from Oxford University. She has lived and worked in Lesotho and Malawi. If you have any questions about the survey we would be happy to discuss them with you; please get in touch with Ms. Pettersson by email at email@example.com.
Preliminary results for CGD survey of African physicians and nurses in the US and Canada
These preliminary results are intended for survey participants only and may not be cited. So far we have received 1600 responses to the CGD African-born physician survey and 230 responses to the CGD African-born nurse survey and we are very grateful to all survey participants. Simple averages for select questions from the two surveys for 390 and 124 physician and nurse respondents respectively, for which data have been entered are shown in the tables below. The final results will be published here in September 2006.
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN PHYSICIAN SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittances: US$4,600Average year physicians began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1982Average share of physicians trained at home (i.e. in Africa): 53%Average share of physicians trained abroad (i.e. outside Africa): 47%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 58%Average share of responses from North Africa: 29%Average share of responses from South Africa: 13%Share of physicians providing medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 8%
Preliminary numbers for 390 survey responses. Not for citation.Source: CGD survey of African-born physicians in Canada and the United States (2006).
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN NURSE SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittance: US$4,720Average year nurses began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1990Average share of nurses trained at home (i.e. Africa): 26%Average share of nurses trained abroad (i.e. not Africa): 74%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 97.6%Average share of responses from North Africa: 0.8%Average share of responses from South Africa: 1.6%Share of nurses that provided medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 6%
Preliminary numbers for 124 survey responses. Not for citation. Source: CGD survey of African-born nurses in the United States (2006).
CGD co-sponsored a Policy Roundtable on Economic Development and Population Dynamics. The roundtable brought together leading policymakers from around the world, including many from Sub-Saharan Africa, to provide consultation on the draft Working Group report and discuss future research and policy directions.
Human capital flows from poor countries to rich countries are large and growing. A leading cause is the increasing skill-focus of immigration policy in a number of leading industrialized countries—a trend that is likely to intensify as rich countries age and competitive pressures build in knowledge-intensive sectors. The implications for development are complex and poorly understood.
A CGD best-seller, Give Us Your Best and Brightest has been praised in Foreign Affairs as "a judicious combination of facts, theory, and informed conjecture on a growing but complex phenomenon about which too little is known." Best and Brightest addresses the migration of well-educated workers from poor to rich countries, and the implications of such migration for development. "The book makes insightful contributions to the literature," says Development Policy Review.