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This is a joint posting with Sarah Jane Staats and also appeared on the Huffington Post
Amidst of a month of partisan battles on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nominee, healthcare and financial regulation, a new bill was introduced this week that rose above party lines: the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524). Senators Kerry, Lugar, Menendez, Corker, Risch and Cardin--three Democrats and three Republicans--introduced the bill as “a first step toward comprehensive reform of U.S. foreign assistance,” showing they are ready, willing and able to work with the administration on a set of deeper reforms.
The U.S. House and Senate passed the $105.9 billion war supplemental last week, which includes $5 billion to secure $108 billion in additional lending by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Congress’s approval for increased IMF lending supports President Obama’s G20 commitments and paves the way to unlock the $1 trillion (mostly contributions from other high-income countries) for emerging and developing countries coping with the economic crisis.
In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade last week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argued that support for the G-20 commitments to increase lending resources at the IMF is a critical part of ensuring U.S. recovery from the economic crisis and global prosperity and security. She was, however, confronted with a host of concerns about whether multilateral lending would go to governments like Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and with one member of Congress’s view that he “is a citizen of the United States, not the world.”
Sen. John Kerry called for a grand new vision to put diplomacy and development alongside defense at the heart of America's foreign policy in a knock-out speech at the Brookings Institution last week. Sen. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke of a new generation of global challenges—ethnic tension, religious extremism, financial crises, climate change and poverty—that require a dramatic overhaul of U.S. foreign policy to protect our common security and prosperity.
The U.S. should do more to support the International Monetary Fund and its efforts to stabilize the global economy, CGD president Nancy Birdsall and three other witnesses told the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade last week.
One hundred days into the Obama administration many in the development community are asking: where is the USAID administrator? Impatience is mounting for news of leadership on development policy and reform of U.S. foreign assistance. President Obama named his picks to lead defense and diplomacy—Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton—well before he took office.
The global economic crisis presents a challenge and an opportunity to do better with U.S. assistance to Africa said CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health last week. Not surprisingly, doing better in Africa requires the same steps towards broad U.S.
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development held a hearing last week on “USAID in the 21st Century: What Do We Need for the Task at Hand?” CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet, Georgetown professor and CGD visit