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As the largest bilateral donor in the world, the US government can play a leadership role in pushing aid effectiveness principles and sustainable development practice. The past two administrations have interwoven, to varying degrees, a number of these principles into the reform agenda of USAID as well as new institutions and initiatives like the Millennium Challenge Corporation, PEPFAR, Feed the Future, and Power Africa.
CGD evaluates US efforts to implement these reforms and principles which include:
The principle of country ownership reflects the idea that local actors including governments, civil society, and the private sector should have a stronger leadership role in the formulation and implementation of development activities in their country. Country ownership is central to the approaches of MCC, Feed the Future, and Power Africa, while USAID and the State Department have increasingly focused attention on shifting a greater share of implementation leadership and responsibility to local actors.
Foreign Aid Transparency & Accountability
In recent years, there has been a major global push to increase the transparency and accountability of foreign assistance. The US government has the potential to be a global leader in aid transparency and accountability, but it has struggled to make progress on its international commitments.
Domestic Resource Mobilization
Domestic resource mobilization (DRM) broadly refers to the process of countries raising their own money to finance their development agenda. US government efforts to support DRM have focused on helping governments expand their tax bases, improve tax compliance, and increase the capacity of tax administrations. In addition to an emphasis on resource collection, current US efforts around DRM also emphasize the importance of the transparent and accountable expenditure of resources by governments.
Results or outcome-based aid has long been a key area of study for CGD. Compared to traditional models of US foreign assistance, these funding models shift attention from inputs to outcomes -- measuring and rewarding real progress, encouraging innovation and adaptation, aligning incentives, limiting corruption, and reducing waste of donor funds. Results-based aid approaches have shown promise in improving service delivery and country ownership.
In Washington, rumor has it that the United States will bring commitments on domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and data to the table at the Financing for Development Conference this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As we get down to the wire, our fingers are crossed that the US government will take this opportunity to be ambitious and offer robust packages in both these areas. Here’s what that could look like.
Congress apparently isn’t getting the data it wants from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC. That makes two of us. The House Appropriations Committee is now calling for OPIC to provide reporting on the volume and destination of all new loans, guarantees, and insurance transactions.
And the award for burying the lede goes to MCC CEO Dana Hyde. At an event hosted by Brookings and CGD Friday about MCC’s future, Hyde quietly acknowledged that the MCC is “actively engaged in pursuing” the possibility of Cash-on-Delivery Aid programs in its compacts.
With Raj Shah stepping down as USAID Administrator last week, many are taking stock of the numerous accomplishments during his five-year tenure at USAID. One of the unsung achievements of his term was announcing and implementing USAID’s Evaluation Policy.