Many poor countries, especially in Africa, will miss the MDGs by a large margin. But neither African inaction nor a lack of aid will necessarily be the reason. Instead, responsibility for near-certain ‘failure’ lies with the overly-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations placed on aid. While the MDGs may have galvanized activists and encouraged bigger aid budgets, over-reaching brings risks as well. Promising too much leads to disillusionment and can erode the constituency for long-term engagement with the developing world.
The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) of the Center for Global Development ranks 21 of the world’s richest countries by evaluating their stance on seven domains of government policy to determine how those policies affect developing countries. This brief summarizes the components and results of the 2005 edition of the CDI.
Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its economy over the past five years. The government blames its economic problems on external forces and drought. We assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has cost the government far more in key budget resources than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe’s economic regression, the decline in welfare, and unnecessary deaths of its children.
In this brief we focus on potential disruptions in poor countries and the policy priorities for coping with them. In particular, we recommend that the United States, which is the only rich country that does not grant tariff-free access for imports from all least-developed countries, provide this access as quickly as possible. In addition, to take advantage of any resulting opportunities, beneficiary countries must adopt domestic reforms to encourage greater productivity.
New medicines are usually financed by a mixture of public funding by governments, philanthropic giving, and investment by private firms. Private investment is especially important in paying for and managing the later stages of clinical trials, regulatory approval, and investment in manufacturing capacity. But for diseases that mainly affect people in developing countries, the prospective sales market is tiny—and not sufficient to justify commercially the large scale investment that is needed to develop new products.
An advance market commitment to accelerate the development of vaccines for diseases concentrated in developing countries, donors could make a binding commitment to pay for a desired vaccine if and when it is developed. This advance market commitment would mean firms could invest in finding a vaccine with the confidence that if they succeed there would be a market for the product.
Sugar is a prototypical case of a policy that favors the few at the expense of the many. Thanks to a government policy that supports prices by sharply restricting imports, a small number of American sugar cane and beet growers are enriched at the expense of US consumers and of more efficient foreign growers, most of whom are in poorer developing countries.
Traditional economic theory predicts that capital mobility and international trade will push the world's national economies to one income level. As poorer nations race ahead, richer ones should slow down. Eventually, theory says, national economies would reach equilibrium. The reality of the last few decades, however, defies this notion; most of the poorest economies continue to lag far behind. For 50 years, foreign aid has been the main way the international community has promoted economic development. Yet it has not proven to be a silver bullet.
Although nearly all poor countries are classified by the World Bank as IDA-only, Nigeria stands out as a notable exception. Indeed, Africa’s most populous country is the poorest country in the world that is not classified as IDA-only. Under the World Bank’s own criteria, however, Nigeria has a strong case for reclassification. IDA-only status would have two potential benefits for Nigeria. First, it would expand Nigeria’s access to IDA resources and make the country eligible for grants. Second, it would strengthen Nigeria’s case for debt reduction. With a renewed economic reform effort getting under way and the emerging use of debt reduction as a tool for assisting economic and political transitions, the UK, the US, and other official creditors should support such a move as part of a broader strategy for encouraging progress in one of Africa’s most important countries.
Education is an end in itself, a human right, and a vital part of the capacity of individuals to lead lives they value. It gives people in developing countries the skills they need to improve their own lives and to help transform their societies. Women and men with better education earn more throughout their lives and participate more fully in the civic and political lives of their communities and countries. Particularly for women, education confers the skills and behaviors that lead to healthier lives. Education that reaches women, the poor, and marginalized ethnic groups not only benefits them directly; it contributes to a more equitable and just society.
This brief summarizes five key recommendations from the CGD book A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform by Kemal Dervis. It presses for reform on a broad front with a renewed, more legitimate, and more effective United Nations as the overarching framework for global governance based on global consent.
his policy brief proposes a new job-based social contract, geared to the aspirations of the region’s vast majority of near-poor “middle” households, whose participation is key to achieving growth and strengthening democracy.
This Brief is based on the CGD book Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health. The book book features 17 success stories. These cases describe some large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries that have succeeded - saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities.
This brief outlines how a global structure of pharmaceutical prices may be determined to balance both the efficiency and the social equity concerns that arise in dealing with countries with widely disparate needs and incomes.
This brief examines the potential positive synergies between globalization, development, and labor standards. It argues that certain core labor standards can be applied globally without undermining comparative advantage, and that doing so would be good for development. The issues are also examined in terms of the recently concluded Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), whose fate in the U.S. Congress is currently uncertain because of a combination of protectionist interests on both sides of the aisle and Democratic concerns that the labor provisions are not strong enough.
Privatization in Latin America: The rapid rise, recent fall, and continuing puzzle of a contentious economic policy
This policy brief is a preview to the analysis and recommendations on privatization in the second edition of Washington Contentious: Economic Policies for Social Equity in Latin America, to be published in 2004 by the Center for Global Development and Inter-American Dialogue.
This policy brief is a preview of the analysis and recommendations in Trade Policy and Global Poverty, by William R. Cline.
This brief assesses the impact of AGOA to date and recommends measures to improve its development potential.
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 the nations of the world committed to join forces to meet a set of measurable targets for reducing world poverty, disease, illiteracy and other indicators of human misery—all by the year 2015. These targets, later named the Millennium Development Goals, include seven measures of human development in poor countries. At the same summit, world leaders took on several qualitative targets applicable to rich countries, later collected in an eighth Goal. The key elements of the eighth Goal, pledge financial support and policy changes in trade, debt relief, and other areas to assist poor countries'domestic efforts to meet the first seven Goals. Combined, the eight Goals constitute a global compact between poor and rich to work today toward their mutual interests to secure a prosperous future.