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2015 has been the year we have been reminded that there have been major gains in development in many parts of the world, but that hundreds of millions of people still suffer the dangerous consequences of poverty, including high levels of maternal and infant mortality, hunger, illness caused by lack of basic sanitation, and death from easily treatable diseases. How can we improve health systems to make them more effective, as well as less wasteful and more accountable?
Next week, nations gather in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) with the goal of establishing a global plan to address climate change. That includes coming to agreements about how to both reduce and adapt to climate change, how to finance those measures, and how to share accountability. That’s a pretty big goal, but my guest this week on the CGD podcast, CGD senior fellow Frances Seymour, is cautiously optimistic.
Recently, CGD launched a major report about how laws designed to prevent money being sent overseas to terrorists and criminals can also have unintended consequences for innocent people in developing countries. Dr. Nathan Sheets, US Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, called for banks and policymakers to "commit significant resources and take on new responsibilities" in order to address this challenge.
Imagine the panic and frustration you’d feel if you lost your passport or driver’s license. They are basic proofs of identity that we – in the developed world – readily use to access a huge range of services from getting on a plane, to opening a bank account, to proving our eligibility for education, to exercising our right to vote. Yet around 2 billion people – mainly in the developing world – have no legal form of identity. That includes some 650m children who have never been registered at birth.
A note of caution to policymakers on this edition of the CGD Podcast: make sure the policies you enact to reduce inequality do not end up raising poverty. That’s what my guest Nora Lustig found in her studies of developing countries – mainly in Latin America.
If you want a simple explanation of why climate change is a development issue, Juliana Santiago can provide it. The head of the Amazon Fund department at Brazil’s national development bank BNDES tells me “we identified that our economy was dependent on the maintenance of the forest,” and that, with 29m people living in the Amazon, many in poverty, getting rural landowners to “understand that deforestation might be a threat to their business was part of this engagement in protecting the forest and thinking about sustainable development.”
With growth, development and financial inclusion high on the agenda at the recent World Bank/IMF meetings in Lima, Peru, this week's podcast looks back at an innovation that helped bring millions of people in Kenya into the financial system. Economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Njuguna Ndung'u, who is also a member of CGD's Task Force on Regulatory Standards for Financial Inclusion, discusses the changes brought to Kenyan society by the introduction of the mobile money transfer service M-Pesa.