The Indian Ministry of Finance’s 2017 Economic Survey considers—though does not commit to—the idea of a large-scale experiment in UBI, or universal basic income. How would it work? What effects would it have? Arvind Subramanian—lead author of the Survey, chief economic adviser to the government of India, and a CGD senior fellow on leave—joins me to discuss the big ideas currently shaping India’s economy.
CGD Policy Blogs
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.
The global refugee crisis will undoubtedly be top of mind this week as representatives from ministries of finance and development, international finance institutions, the private sector, civil society, and academia descend on Washington, DC to discuss issues of global concern. As conflicts and crises continue to burn on, forcibly displacing more and more people worldwide, 2017 must be about turning rhetoric into action. This week’s spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF therefore come at an opportune moment—one where key actors can reflect on progress against last year’s commitments; determine and learn from what is and isn’t working well; and put measures in place to ensure that efforts moving forward lead to a real and positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of refugees and their host communities. Our new report, Refugee Compacts: Addressing the Crisis of Protracted Displacement, the result of a study group co-chaired by CGD and the IRC, is one input towards this end.
Sub-Saharan African countries are at a critical juncture. With China's slowdown and the collapse in commodity prices, growth slipped to 3.4 percent in 2015, on average just over half what it has been for the past 15 years. Estimated growth for 2016 is below the population growth rate of about 2 percent, thus negative in per capita terms.
We need an international assessment that will pinpoint educational challenges by providing consistent information on the status of all youth, not just those who have somehow stayed in formal schooling into adolescence. Think of a universal test of nine-year-olds in basic math, reading, and problem solving skills.
Just ahead of the annual World Bank/IMF spring meetings, the Bank’s new CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, spoke with me about a new way of thinking at the 72-year-old institution. The Bank has renewed ambition, she told me, to be a catalyst for massive transformative investment in development. She went on to lay out how the Bank plans to do that in this edition of the CGD Podcast.
Last month I attended a working group set up under the auspices of UHC2030 to look at the problems facing countries that lose external funding for their health programs. For many countries, the bad news is good news—their incomes and capacities have improved so much that donors no longer view them as needing the assistance.
Adesina, Birdsall, Brown, Georgieva, Gillard, Miliband, Ngozi, Subramanian—these are some of the development heavyweights speaking at CGD at a series of events in the run up to the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings. We hope you will join us—either in person or online—for timely conversations on some of the most pressing development challenges—and their potential solutions.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister and former Khmer Rouge commander Hun Sen has called on the Trump administration to cancel Cambodia’s debt to the US Government incurred by the Lon Nol regime in the 1970s. Because the loans, which were used to pay for food purchased from the United States, have not been serviced, the total amount owed is estimated to now be more than US$500 million. While the Trump administration may not immediately embrace Cambodia’s request, it is worth both sides considering the possibility of a deal.
The world of business is still extremely gender-unequal. Across the countries in the World Bank’s enterprise surveys, less than one in five firms are run by a woman, for example. Governments could help fix that problem by using their immense purchasing power (close on $10 trillion a year in procurements) to foster the growth of women-owned enterprises. But at the moment—at least in the US—the government is a laggard rather than a leader when it comes to awarding contracts to women owned business. It’s time for that to change.