With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
I have a piece in the Washington Post this week based on my book. I'm told it will appear on the front page of the Outlook section of Sunday's print edition. It will look familiar to you if you follow this blog:
There has been enough time and evidence now to explore the full impact of microcredit in depth, and, set against its vaunted reputation, my verdict is dour: Microcredit rarely transforms lives. Some people do better after getting a small business loan, while some do worse — but very few climb into the middle class. It’s a constructive endeavor, but it has been vastly overhyped. And the hype has undermined the good that the movement can achieve.
Accompanying the piece is a two-minute video. The soundtrack is almost all me. Video footage is taken from two recent documentaries: Holly Mosher's Bonsai People and Tom Heinemann's Caught in Micro Debt. After the Post contacted me for ideas for the video feature, I suggested that they juxtapose clips from these two opposing films, much as I open my book with two contrasting stories of the impact of microcredit (the sad one coming from Heinemann). My idea was to show the audience both the power and the limitations of stories as ways of understanding the impact of microfinance and much else. Then the Post decided to put me in the mix, so I'm not sure that my original idea comes through. But I'm pleased with what they selected from their interview with me.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
On Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of State at the Department for International Development, kicked off DFID’s Energy Africa campaign at an event hosted by the Shell Foundation designed to help his team figure out how the UK government can invest its political clout and an initial £30 million ($46 million) to tackle rural energy poverty in Africa. Given solar’s limitations and these risks, how can we make sure that Energy Africa fulfils Minister Shapps’s ambitious brief?