With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Christopher Bancroft Burnham, Chairman, Cambridge Global Capital
Bathsheba Crocker, Vice President, Humanitarian Programs & Policy, CARE
Sarah Rose, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Brett Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs, Heritage Foundation
Jessica TriskoDarden, Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Scott Morris, Senior Fellow and Director of the US Development Policy Initiative, Center for Global Development
When it comes to foreign aid, the United States is the largest bilateral donor in the world. Some of this aid goes to countries that are out of step with the United States on select policy issues. One clear demonstration of this is the significant amount of aid given to countries who frequently vote in opposition to the US position at the United Nations. Over the years, various US officials have decried this relationship and called for a closer link between US foreign aid and countries’ UN voting record. The Trump administration has recently raised the profile of this viewpoint, emphasizing its desire for US aid to support US interests—including at the United Nations.
US foreign assistance has always been a tool of foreign policy and has been used to influence UN votes for decades. But there are a range of opinions around the degree to which aid should be tied to UN votes, the implications of such a policy, and—more broadly—how US self-interest should be defined. Please join us for a lively discussion of viewpoints on these and other questions around the administration’s proposal to forge a closer connection between aid flows and UN votes.
In many countries, it is difficult to raise taxes and therefore difficult to increase spending on health care. Nevertheless, many of the factors that determine population health—and how it is distributed among citizens—do not involve spending more on healthcare services, per se. Rather, the burden of many non-communicable diseases and external injuries can be influenced by creative reform of taxes and subsidies. Taxing tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce consumption of products which contribute to cardiovascular disease, traffic accidents, and diabetes. Subsidies for condoms, vaccines, and TB diagnostics can reduce the prevalence of many important infectious diseases. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, will present findings from his research with Ian Parry at the International Monetary Fund on the potential for health gains from taxes and subsidies. This lunchtime talk will be moderated by William Savedoff, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Transactional sex (sex for money) is a common risk-coping behavior in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to be a leading driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In her upcoming paper, Kelly Jones and her coauthors examine whether access to precautionary savings can mitigate the use of transactional sex as a response to negative shocks. In a field experiment in Kenya, half of the over 600 vulnerable women participants were randomly assigned a savings intervention that consists of opening a mobile banking savings account labeled for emergency expenses and individual goals. They find that the intervention led to an increase in total mobile savings, reductions in transactional sex as a risk-coping response to shocks, and a decrease in symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
As the evidence of mobile money’s ability to improve financial access continues to grow, some in the development community are exploring whether a new wave of digital innovation, including digital currencies and blockchain technology, can play a similar role. To date, however, only a small number of start-ups using these technologies have been able to develop profitable business models, while others have struggled to overcome some of the same hurdles faced by more traditional financial actors. For this reason, some are skeptical that these new technologies will significantly improve financial inclusion. This event, which is co-hosted by the Center for Global Development and World Bank’s Blockchain Lab, will bring together policy experts working on the forefront of financial inclusion and technology, along with the CEO of BitPesa, a company that uses blockchain technology to facilitate payments between Africa and the rest of the world. The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing start-ups seeking to use blockchain technology to expand financial access in emerging and frontier markets. CGD Policy Fellow Michael Pisa will moderate the discussion.
In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in improving the treatment and prevention of diseases, resulting in millions of lives saved around the world. While some of this progress is due to economic growth, aid from several bilateral, multilateral, and philanthropic donors has made important contributions to reducing the global burden of disease. In this seminar, Alec Morton will present new research focusing on decision rules to guide how donors should allocate aid money given that resources are limited.
With more than 145 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 65 million people forcibly displaced, growing risks of climate-driven natural hazards, food insecurity on the rise and four countries struggling to stave off famine, the global humanitarian system faces exceptional challenges. As needs outstrip funding, it is clear that traditional ways of doing business will not suffice. These global crises cannot be addressed without rethinking the link between humanitarian response and development assistance. CGD is delighted to welcome Mark Lowcock, less than two months into his new position as the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. As the UN system’s lead for global relief activities, he is charged with coordinating how humanitarian agencies respond and work together to address global emergencies. After delivering remarks, he will join CGD president Masood Ahmed to discuss successes, challenges, priorities, and reforms for the global humanitarian system in a time of urgent and growing need.
CGD, in partnership with the World Bank Group, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Omidyar Network, is delighted to host Nandan Nilekani, the founding chairman of UIDAI (Aadhaar), the unique identification system of India, which has enrolled more than a billion people. Nilekani will speak on “Societal Platforms: A Cambrian Approach to Sustainable Development”—how we can distill principles from the unique architecture of Aadhaar to develop new platforms, like EkStep, that can enable people to access an increasingly wide array of transformative services.
One in three women around the world has experienced violence in their lifetime. It is the single most common form of violence in the world, but also one of the least analysed and discussed. Evidence shows that fighting violence against women not only addresses horrendous human rights violations and the negative impact on women’s lives and health, but also contributes to countries’ and societies’ sustainable economic, political and social development.
China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect countries that account for 60 percent of the world's people and 30 percent of global GDP. How can we make sure it produces real and lasting benefits for developing countries that are involved? At this special mini-summit, co-hosted by CGD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, we will bring together global leaders, including governments, multilateral development finance institutions and private banks to identify and discuss practical considerations for BRI partners, as well as challenges and solutions.