A White House conference on social justice in Latin America this week may signal a shift to U.S. engagement with the region that goes beyond security, free trade, and anti-narcotics efforts. CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, suggest seven ways that the U.S. could more effectively support Latin American efforts to address persistent inequality--starting with a more effective approach on trade and drugs.
Will the Poor Be Flooded Out? The IPCC's Predicted Flood Disasters and Their Implications for Development Aid
The April 5, 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as a result of global warming. In this CGD Note senior fellow David Wheeler shows that citizens of poor countries are much more likely than citizens in rich countries to suffer homelessness, injury and death from flood. He urges the international community to help low-income countries develop stronger protective institutions, greater resources for flood protection, and affordable insurance.
Core labor standards--an end to forced and child labor, nondiscrimination, and respect for workers' right to organize--are important for sharing the benefits of globalization. But how to enforce them remains contentious. In this CGD Note, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott says that U.S. policy should focus on domestic issues, such as ensuring that U.S. workers have adequate safety nets, and international issues, such as assisting countries in improving compliance with labor standards. The U.S should leave the details of labor laws to national governments, with monitoring by the International Labor Organization.
U.S. aid to Africa soared during President Bush's first term, to more than twice the level of any previous administration. But the newly divided government--Democratic Congress, Republican White House--could mean a cut in aid. In this CGD Note senior fellow Todd Moss uses just-released data from the first term of the Bush administration to explore patterns in U.S. official development assistance. He finds that aid to Africa is higher when the same party controls both the White House and Congress and that an all-Republican government gives more aid than an all-Democratic one.
Read Moss' 2003 Surprise Party working paper
Although many countries must share responsibility for the negotiating stalemate in the Doha Round of trade negotiations, the proximate cause of the talks' collapse last summer was the U.S. refusal to offer additional reductions in agricultural subsidies. In this CGD Note, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott discusses concessions the U.S. and other rich countries must make to save the Round, particularly reductions in agricultural subsidies and lowering barriers to imports of agricultural goods. Overcoming the impasse is crucial for developing countries: failure would deny them opportunities for job creation and growth that increased trade would provide, and would contribute to erosion of the multilateral, rules-based system that protects small, weak countries from discrimination by the powerful.
Diamonds, long seen as symbols of love and prosperity, are now blamed for war and corruption in some of the poorest places on earth. But do all diamonds fuel conflict and strife? In this CGD Note program associate Kaysie Brown and senior fellow Todd Moss consider the strengths and limitations of industry efforts to break the deadly link between diamonds and conflict, most notably through the Kimberley Process, which certifies that a diamond has been obtained legitimately. They find that the Kimberley Process, which has helped turn conflict diamonds into development diamonds, is a good thing but it could be even better. They also offer consumers tips on how to buy conflict-free diamonds.
China's bid for a leading role in Africa gained sudden visibility on the weekend with an unprecedented gathering of leaders from 48 African countries in Beijing. Chinese president Hu Jintao pledged to double aid and to offer $5 billion in loans by 2009. China's newly high-profile overtures towards Africa have raised eyebrows—and a fair bit of anxiety—among Africa’s traditional development partners. Will Chinese lending lead to a new African debt crisis? In a new CGD Note, senior fellow Todd Moss and research assistant Sarah Rose examine the growing clout of a little-known instrument of China's Africa policy, the Export-Import Bank of China, and offer some advice for the West. Learn more
In this CGD Note, CGD vice president Dennis de Tray and senior fellow Todd Moss argue that international financial institutions should transform their boards of resident executive directors into non-resident, non-executive bodies. Doing so would force the governing bodies to focus on their core responsibilities, increase accountability and reduce costs of all kinds. They urge the African Development Bank to go first. Learn more
The Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa was launched in June to help Africa tackle problems that hinder domestic and foreign investment. It aims to raise $550 million for promotion of property rights and financial markets, anti-corruption efforts, and reform of regulations, taxation, and customs. In this CGD Note, senior fellow Todd Moss lists the strengths of the proposal and asks tough questions, including: What exactly will the money be spent on? Why no independent evaluation? He concludes that the U.S. should support the facility--if convincing answers are forthcoming. Learn more
CGD program director Ruth Levine argues that independent impact evaluation of anti-corruption programs will be crucial to the success of the new World Bank campaign against corruption. As corruption-fighting programs are put into place, she writes, donor and recipient countries should request and fund careful, credible and independent third party evaluations—then publish the results whether or not they make the funders and implementers look good. Learn More
The ninth negotiating round, named the "Doha" Round for the city in Qatar where it was launched, has proven to be unique, because many developing countries are flexing their political muscle as never before. As a result, the Doha Round seems destined to fail unless rich countries cut the trade barriers that hurt developing countries most: those in agriculture.
Are we doing well by doing good?
This CGD Note by C. Peter Timmer explores the alliance between US farmers, processors and shippers that forms the political foundation of the US food aid program. The Note outlines the current winners and losers of US food aid, and argues that surprisingly, the recipients are most often the losers.
Zimbabwe is in a state of virtual economic collapse. It faces grave public health concerns and even basic services have stalled. A new CGD Note by Todd Moss and Stewart Patrick urges the international community to begin planning now for the narrow window of opportunity a post-Mugabe transition will provide.
This CGD brief is based on the book From Social Assistance to Social Development: Targeted Education Subsidies in Developing Countries, by Samuel Morley and David Coady.
Before the G-8 Summit, President Bush said that U.S. aid to Africa had tripled since he took office and would double again by 2010. CGD’s Steve Radelet and Bilal Siddiqi find that total U.S. aid to the region has doubled, but not tripled, since 2000, continuing an upward trend that began in 1996. Going forward, the pledge to double aid implies an additional $4.3 billion in aid to Africa by 2010, accounted for by projected increases in the Millennium Challenge Account ($2.0-$2.5 billion), the global AIDS program (PEPFAR) ($1.5 billion), and the recently announced malaria program ($0.5 billion). The pledge to double aid should be seen as a recommitment to previous (important) pledges, rather than an announcement of something new.
Time to put to rest the stale debate over whether the World Bank should disburse grants or loans to the world’s poorest countries. It is critical that the Bank provide more of its funding as grants, but in a more rational manner than has been the case to date. A third Bank window should distribute grants – and grants only – to very poor countries, for example, with incomes below $500 per capita. Shifting to grants-only for the very poorest countries would ensure they never again find themselves with unpayable debt burdens, and would allow them to re-invest resources into their own economies rather than repay the Bank.
This new CGD Note by Center for Global Development President Nancy Birdsall and Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow John Williamson argues that sale of a portion of IMF gold makes sense as a way to create a more transparent institution and use a global resource for debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.
Nigeria has $33 billion in external debt. The government has been trying unsuccessfully for years to cut a deal with creditors to reduce its external obligations but to date has only managed to gain non-concessional restructuring. The major creditors also have good reasons for wanting to seek a resolution, yet agreement has been elusive. Fortunately, there is a brief window of opportunity in 2005 to find a compromise that can meet the needs of both sides. This note briefly outlines a proposal for striking such a deal through a discounted debt buyback.