A 2011 referendum in Southern Sudan will determine the sub-nation’s independence – and it’s just one month away. Ahead of the South’s possible secession, Sudanese leaders are scrambling to find solutions to a host of questions, a critical one being: What should be done with Sudan’s crushing $35 billion external debt burden?
CGD Policy Blogs
This is a joint post with Wren Elhai
Last week, the Government of Pakistan hosted officials from the United States and more than 30 donor countries and multilateral agencies in Islamabad for the Pakistan Development Forum. The big news from the two-day event was the announcement that the United States would accelerate disbursement of $500 million in previously committed aid to help Pakistan meet its flood rebuilding needs. (This pledge is above and beyond the more than $500 million the United States had previously committed to the immediate humanitarian needs from the flood.) What officials did not announces is what the US flood aid will be used for. My CGD colleagues Alan Gelb and Caroline Decker have recommended one proposal that the U.S. policymakers are currently considering: directing up to $500 million to finance a housing capitalization fund for flood-affected households.
As if Pakistan needed more troubles, this summer’s catastrophic flooding stretched the capacity of that country’s civilian government to the breaking point. How can the United States act to shore up a key ally and put a strategically critical country back on the path towards development and stability? My guest this week is Molly Kinder, a senior policy analyst here at the Center for Global Development.
This is a joint post with Wren Elhai.
Today on ForeignPolicy.com, we’ve written an op/ed with our colleague Molly Kinder that makes the case for why the United States should do everything possible to help Pakistan rebuild basic infrastructure in the areas devastated by this summer’s catastrophic floods. Here, we wanted to expand on one of the points from that op/ed—the debate over repurposing money from the existing $7.5 U.S. aid commitment, authorized a year ago by what’s called the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill.
The question of how much can and should be repurposed from Kerry-Lugar-Berman is dividing policymakers in Congress and in the Obama administration. The House of Representatives has already passed a resolution that, among other things, “supports the use of funds authorized by [Kerry-Lugar-Berman] for the purposes of providing long-term recovery and rehabilitation for flood-affected areas and populations.”
Many developing countries have found that large deposits of oil or other natural resources are more a curse than a blessing. My guest on this week's Wonkcast is Alan Gelb, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Together with co-author Sina Grassman, Alan has written a paper that explores the options facing developing countries with abundant natural resources and draws on historical evidence to recommend best practices for dodging the 'resource curse.'
This is a joint post with Wren Elhai.
A frustrated David Ignatius chided Congress in yesterday’s Washington Post for its dithering in passing legislation that would create “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” (ROZs) in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Ignatius calls the ROZ initiative a “modest boost for the good guys” and laments that it is caught up in a partisan food fight in the Senate. We share his frustration over the Senate’s inaction, but we are less optimistic about the bill’s potential impact. In the legislation’s current form (details below), ROZs would at best be a token gesture that would be well received in Pakistan; at worst, they risk having little (if any) economic impact and creating expectations that cannot be met. If Senators are serious about promoting U.S. national security interests through economic progress in Pakistan, they should be prepared to go to the mat for something that will actually make a difference. Expanded trade access for all Pakistani exports from all of Pakistan is the best way to ensure a meaningful economic boost to Pakistan’s “good guys.”
Especially during the hot summer months, some of us might daydream about packing up and relocating to a small tropical island somewhere in the Pacific. From a development perspective, however, small island states face unique challenges—most obviously from rising sea levels, but also from the economic dynamics created by their small size and isolation.
As the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spew thousands of barrels of oil each day, media attention has been focused on the toll on nearby economies and ecosystems and on the U.S. political response. On this edition of the Global Prosperity Wonkcast, we look beyond the Gulf of Mexico to explore what implications America’s biggest environmental disaster might hold for the new offshore oil boom getting underway in Africa.
This is a joint post with Lauren Young.
A dashing Brazilian man who keeps a flakjacket in his midtown Manhattan office, two firefighters from New York and Miami, a terrorist attack, and an attempted rescue using nothing but a string and a ladies handbag. Would you believe that this is a film about the United Nations? Sergio, which premiered on HBO this month, is the story of Sergio Vieira de Mello, an extraordinary public servant who died in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq. The film (based on the book by Pulitzer-prize winning author Samantha Power) is a tribute to his leadership and service in the world’s worst troublespots.
Sergio Vieira de Mello began his career with the United Nations in Bangladesh, at the age of 23, and continued to mediate conflicts for the next three decades in countries such as Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Mozambique, and Lebanon.
This is a joint post with Wren Elhai and Molly Kinder.
Senator Richard Lugar’s new opinion piece on Foreign Policy’s website lays out the case that a strong economic partnership with Pakistan is in U.S. national interests. Lugar argues that the recent failed bombing in Times Square and the subsequent arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American who had received bomb-making training in Pakistan’s volatile FATA region, is only a further reminder of how critical cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan remains.