Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

US Development Policy

CGD experts track US development policy and offer ideas and analysis to improve its impact on developing countries. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and Global Health Policy blog.

 

US Backs Away from Its Commitment to Extractive Industry Transparency

The US Department of the Interior announced last week that the United States would no longer seek to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international multi-stakeholder organization that aims to increase revenue transparency and accountability in natural resource extraction. The move—while disappointing—is not altogether unexpected. And sadly, it will put the United States further behind the curve when it comes to corporate transparency.

A No More Tiers Formula to Clean Up Corruption

A bipartisan group of eight Senators led by Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) has just reintroduced a new version of a bill designed to identify and combat corruption overseas. The Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017 ties some potentially useful anti-corruption measures to a less-than-useful exercise in corruption ranking that will blunt their impact. That’s a shame, but it also suggests an easy fix: junk the ranking.

A Key Question If You Are Reviewing Multilateral Organization Effectiveness: Do We Need a Multilateral Solution?

There’s increasing appetite in the US to follow the UK model and launch a review of US spending through international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank. There is a lot to be said for such an exercise—my colleague Todd Moss even carried out a mock version for the US a few years ago which suggested plaudits for Gavi and the African Development Fund alongside brickbats for the ILO and UNESCO. But I think the model has a serious weakness if it is going to be applied as broadly in the US as some proposals, including a draft executive order making the rounds, imply. I’d argue for (preferably) limiting the review to like-to-like comparisons covering aid and development institutions or (at least) using different criteria for judging the many different types of international organizations.

Cutting UN Funding Will Cost the US

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Trump Administration is considering a new Executive Order that mandates cutting all funding to bodies that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority and fund abortion amongst other categories, but also suggests “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in remaining US funding towards international organizations. The proposed cuts would do almost nothing to reduce the deficit while weakening US national security and international leadership.

Congress Wants to Extend Global Internet Access: Perhaps It Could Put Some Money Behind the Idea?

Congressman Ed Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, is proposing the Digital GAP Act, designed to promote Internet access in developing countries and update foreign policy toward the Internet. And on the other side of Capitol Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a bill also seeking to expand Internet access for developing country populations. That’s a worthy goal—as both bills note, over three billion people worldwide are already using the Internet and it can be a powerful force for change. 

The Senate Tackles Corruption in US Foreign Assistance

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin recently introduced legislation to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption. It is great to see Senator Cardin looking for ways the United States can contribute to the global fight against corruption, and there is some smart language in the bill. Of course, it wouldn’t be a CGD blog if I didn’t also have some suggestions on how to make the bill even better.

Obama’s Legacy in Africa – Lacking or Lasting?

President Obama is wheels up to Kenya and Ethiopia. Likely his last trip to the continent as president, Charles Kenny and Todd Moss each take this moment to assess his legacy in Africa thus far—and identify where there are still opportunities.

Here is Charles in Bloomberg.

Here is Todd in CNN.

They’re worth reading in tandem. Both see the president’s legacy on the continent thus far as lacking, if for somewhat different reasons, and both identify different possibilities for driving a lasting legacy. But it’s safe to say both are hopeful there will not be another soccket

Wiping Out Poverty with a New (Old) Aid Strategy

Imagine you are an aid agency with a new mission, set at the highest level: end world poverty. Two come to mind. How are you to achieve such a noble but audacious goal? 

The first thing you’d want to do is define the target: what is meant by ‘poverty’? Perhaps you’d suggest that it was living on a little more than a dollar a day, or watching your children dying from preventable illness.  Perhaps it is some combination of limited absolute or relative consumption –living on less than $1.25 a day or in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution, as it might be.  Or maybe you’d go further and suggest that poverty was multifaceted, and only a range of indicators (perhaps as many as 169) could really capture what it was to be satiated or deprived.

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