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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.
Featuring Nora Lustig
Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics, Tulane University
Nonresident Fellow, Center for Global Development
With Discussant Nancy Birdsall
President, Center for Global Development
Hosted by Amanda Glassman
Director of Global Health Policy and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Consumption taxes for goods and services—sometimes called Value Added Taxes or VAT—are a common and effective revenue-raising tool used in many developing countries. But in some low- and middle-income countries, all but the poorest 10% of the population pay more in such taxes than they receive in cash transfers—even to the extent of worsening poverty levels. This has occurred in countries as varied as Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. Lustig will draw on new research from the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) project to show how replacing external aid with domestic resources generated through consumption taxes could have onerous consequences for the poor.
Lustig directs the Commitment to Equity (CEQ), a partnership with Tulane University, the Inter-American Dialogue, and CGD. The CEQ offers research and analysis on the equity impact of taxes and transfers in an effort to support governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to build more equitable societies.
In outlining his vision for U.S. development assistance, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green has emphasized fidelity to an overarching purpose—ending its need to exist. Consistent with this objective, USAID has been developing a new strategic approach that seeks to more systematically orient its programming toward building countries’ capacity to plan, finance, and manage their own development. A key component of this “journey to self-reliance” framework is a set of metrics that will help assess each country’s progress along their journey. The metrics will help inform strategic planning around the nature of USAID’s partnership with the country, shape development dialogue, and help inform thinking about strategic transitions.
Five members of the Zimbabwe Working Group traveled to Harare May 20-25 to meet with the government, opposition leaders, and a wide range of business, religious, and civil society organizations to assess prospects for free and fair elections and for meaningful political and economic reform. Please join us to hear from the delegation as they share their findings and recommendations for US policy.
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.