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CGD in the News

July 5, 2018

Measuring Up: USAID Proposes New Indicators to Assess Countries’ “Journey to Self-Reliance” (New Security Beat)

“At the heart of…USAID’s transformation, is the core belief that each country must lead its development journey, and finance and implement solutions to its development challenges,” said Susan Fine of USAID at a recent Center for Global Development event introducing USAID’s new “Journey to Self-Reliance ” indicators.

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“Using data is always preferable to relying on assumptions,” said Sarah Rose of the Center for Global Development. However, “no set of cross-country indicators is ever going to provide a complete picture or be able to fully answer everything you need to know about development.” The challenge lies in “ensuring that everyone who uses this tool…also utilizes it with a keen focus on some of the limitations as well,” said Rose.

Read the full article here.

July 5, 2018

Funding fears as US loses IOM leadership (Devex)

 

WASHINGTON — Washington’s candidate to head the United Nations’ migration agency was roundly rejected Friday, coming in last behind candidates proposed by two other countries, and raising fears of retaliation from its largest donor.

Leadership of the International Organization for Migration has historically been considered all but reserved for the United States. Since its founding in 1951, all its leaders bar one, in the 1960s, have been American. But in voting at its Geneva headquarters last week, the 171 member states elected António Vitorino of Portugal as the organization’s new director general. Vitorino, 61, is a former European commissioner for justice and home affairs and former deputy prime minister in a socialist government in Portugal, where he served under António Guterres.

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Jeremy Konyndyk, the former head of the U.S. government’s foreign disaster relief efforts during the Obama administration and a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, argued in a statement that the result represented a rejection of “the Trump administration’s own views on migration — attacking fundamental asylum rights in the United States, banning travel from numerous Muslim-majority countries, devastating refugee resettlement, and most notoriously, separating undocumented migrant children from their parents.”

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Characterizing the election result as a “stinging rebuke” to Washington, Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at CGD, stated, “I would be very surprised if the United States did not take some retaliation” against IOM.

Read the full article here.

July 5, 2018

Universal lessons (The Economist)

As you walk from classroom to classroom at Tibba Khara school on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-biggest city, the children seem to disappear. Pandemonium prevails in the first classroom, packed with five- and six-year-olds in their first year of school. But pass through the next few rooms, with progressively older classes, and both the number of pupils and the volume level steadily diminish. By the time you reach the class of ten- and 11-year-olds, there are just a handful of pupils left, silently studying.

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If you want to find an uneducated child in today’s world, argues Lant Pritchett, an economist at Harvard University, “you can find them in school”.

The extent of the failure is immense. According to a survey of three east African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) published in 2014, three-quarters of pupils in the third year of primary school could not read a sentence such as: “The name of the dog is Puppy.” In rural India almost the same share could not subtract 17 from 46, or perform similar calculations with two-digit numbers. Research by the Centre for Global Development (CGD), a think-tank, suggests that in half of the developing countries for which they have data, less than 50% of women who left school after the age of 11 can read a sentence. UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for education and science, estimates that six out of ten children worldwide (a total of more than 600m) do not meet a minimum standard of proficiency in reading and maths. The vast majority of these children are in school.

Read the full article here.

July 3, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For in a Trade Fight Between Trump and Congress (World Politics Review)

By Kimberly Ann Elliott

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate trade, and for more than a century it did so with gusto. Then, grasping for ways to escape the Great Depression and reverse the downward economic spiral that followed the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which passed in 1930, Congress delegated some of its trade power to the executive branch. In subsequent decades, Congress provided additional authorities allowing the president to control trade policy. Now, however, with concerns about President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policy moves—imposing a range of tariffs on close allies and rivals alike, and threatening more—there are calls to shift some of that authority back to Congress. 

As the United States celebrates the anniversary of its founding this week, it seems like a good time to review history and see how and why the governance of trade evolved the way it has in Washington. This history suggests strongly that, while some rebalancing is desirable, Congress should exercise great caution in reclaiming its power to regulate trade.

Read the full article here.

July 3, 2018

Bangladesh deserves a win-win solidarity compact (Dhaka Tribune)

By Cindy Huang, Kate Gough, Nazanin Ash, Marcus Skinner

Bangladesh should pursue its dialogue with the international community with more ambition

On August 25, 2017, in retaliation to attacks on its local security forces by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Myanmar military undertook a campaign of violence and terror against the Rohingya people that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Nearly 700,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 -- including more than 500,000 in a single month, the fastest refugee exodus since the Rwandan genocide. And while this campaign was most significant in terms of people displaced, it also capped a long history of disenfranchisement and abuse of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Read the full article here.

 

July 2, 2018

Mapping Refugees and Urban Job Opportunities (New Security Beat)

Although most of us picture refugees living in remote, dusty camps, as many as 2.1 million of the developing world’s working-age refugees reside in major urban areas—where they should have greater access to employment opportunities. However, according to a new report from the Center for Global Development, finding employment remains “one of the major unmet needs identified by refugees.”

To help illuminate this potential workforce, the Center for Global Development created an interactive map tool that displays the locations and sizes of refugee population relative to urban areas within 31 developing countries. Powered by open source mapping platform Mapbox, the map plots refugee populations by size and location (urban or rural).  Hovering over a particular country will yield total refugee population, the percentage of working-age refugees, the breakdown between urban and rural populations, and the number of multinational companies and how many people they employ.

Read the full article here.

July 2, 2018

US pours billions in Kenya to rival China dominance (Standard Digital)

The United States faces an uphill task in a fresh bid to reclaim its position as Kenya’s dominant trading partner on the back of growing volatility in the international market. This comes even as China, currently the leading protagonist in a simmering trade war kicked off by US President Donald Trump, firms its grip on much of Kenya’s revenue basket through more than Sh500 billion in State-guaranteed credit.

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Earlier this year, Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development published a report stating China’s One Belt One Road mega project  - of which Kenya plays a pivotal role through the SGR and the Lapsset project - poses a significant risk of debt distress to Kenya and 68 other low-income countries.

“The primary concern is that an $8 trillion-dollar initiative will leave countries with debt “overhangs” that will impede sound public investment and economic growth more generally,” said the report in part adding that the problems will create an unfavorable degree of dependency on China.

“In Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, and Kenya, there could be an increase in the risk of debt distress in the short-term due to BRI-related projects,” said the report in part.  

Read the full article here.

June 30, 2018

African Banks Consider Chinese Yuan, But Risks Loom (Voice of America)

More than a dozen African countries have been weighing the merits of adding the Chinese yuan to their mix of foreign reserves, discussing the idea at a gathering of officials last month in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Adopting the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or RMB, would make it easier for African countries to pay back loans to China.

But it could also increase reliance on an economic and development partner that’s come under increasing scrutiny for the conditions it places on deals with African partners.

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Multibillion-dollar loans to fund Chinese infrastructure projects tied to the Belt and Road Initiative represent sizable portions of some African economies. In Djibouti, for instance, infrastructure loans from China equal 75 percent of GDP, according to the Center for Global Development.

Repaying those loans might not be straightforward.

Read the full article here.

June 29, 2018

Migration is part of development. She can not be wished away. (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

By Christoph Eisenring

Western politicians are calling for more development aid so that fewer people are leaving their countries. But that will not work, says the economist Michael Clemens: When poor countries develop, migration initially increases.

From 1870 to 1913 about every fifth Swede left his country. Most emigrated to the USA. That had nothing to do with the fact that Sweden was in chaos during this time. Rather, this exodus is typical of the development of a traditional to an industrialized nation, says the migration expert Michael Clemens who works at the Washington think tank Center for Global Development. His thesis is that emigration is almost always part of the transformation to an economically successful country. One should not lose sight of this when Western politicians are currently seeing the panacea as being more involved in poor countries and increasing development aid. The idea may be obvious at first glance: if the countries were doing better, fewer young people would leave their homelands, and migratory pressure on industrialized countries would decrease, is hope. But such promises must lead to a disappointment, says the economist, who is also associated with the Research Institute for the Future of Labor (IZA) in Bonn.

Read the full article here.

June 29, 2018

Why are so many children coming to the US from Central America in the first place? (The Washington Post)

While the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy was causing a crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, three members of Congress were introducing a bill to try to stop the flood of migrants coming in the first place. On June 22, Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Norma Torres (D-Calif.) and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) introduced the Central America Family Protection and Reunification Act, which aims to strengthen the State Department’s role in monitoring and addressing the root causes of migration from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The bill places a special emphasis on migrant children, whose attempts to enter the United States spiked dramatically in 2014. Though it faces hurdles, if passed and signed, the law would require the State Department to study organized crime and gang-related offenses committed against children and devise a strategy to reduce gender-based violence. In other words, instead of sending young migrants back, this approach would consider how to keep them home in the first place.

Which brings up a question: Why are so many Central American children coming to the United States? Exactly what are the conditions that are pushing Central American child migrants north?

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Several studies show that violence in Central American countries is strongly related to migration. For example, a 2016 Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) survey found that those who’ve been crime victims more than once were significantly more likely to say they intended to migrate. Michael Clemens at the Center for Global Development found that between 2011 and 2016, across Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, each additional homicide per city is associated with nearly four more unaccompanied minors caught at the U.S. border. Sudden spikes in violence can be as powerful in pushing Central Americans out as long-term economic factors like poverty.

Read the full article here.

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