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.
"No Child Left Behind" could move from a national program to a global mission if several current policies and initiatives converge: the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account, and the renewed declarations of the Bush administration, supported by U.S. public opinion.