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CGD Policy Blogs


West Africa: The Demographic Dividend Is Not a Given

Nowadays, the international development community is abuzz about the strong economic performance of sub-Saharan Africa.  This year alone, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates growth in the region at 5.4 percent, and only ‘developing Asia’ should do better.  Often this kind of economic boon is accompanied by falling fertility rates that usher in a ‘demographic dividend’ – or a window of opportunity when dependency ratios decline and the labor force increases relatively.  But rapid population growth in the West African sub-region in particular may slow down economic development and

Interviews with EBRD Candidates

On Friday the Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will decide who will be the Bank’s next President.  Today we are publishing interviews with four of the candidates.

Getting Greater Value from Post-Quake Aid to Haiti

The January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, killed over 220,000 people, displaced several million, and flattened much of the capital, Port Au Prince, also unleashed a tsunami of outside assistance. In the 28 months since the earthquake official donors have disbursed almost $6 billion in aid to help the people of Haiti, the equivalent of $600 per person for a country where per capita annual income is just $670. Where has all the money gone? On the second anniversary of the quake we set out to answer this question; our new CGD policy paper is the result. The short answer is that the vast majority of the money so-far disbursed has been paid to international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private contractors. And while many of these organizations do excellent work, there is shockingly little information on how they used the funds.

Moving On

I came to CGD nearly to two years ago to lead the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance program, and now it’s time to move on to other pursuits.  But not to worry, Rethink will be in good hands.

I have been honored to work with such a fine group of people who are doing important research on difficult issues.  During just ten years in existence, CGD has had major impacts on how the United States engages with the rest of the world on global development issues.  I look forward to watching its next decade of work.

Yunus-Bashing Escalates

Hillary Clinton passed through Bangladesh last weekend and publicly expressed her strong support for Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. "I don’t want anything that would in any way undermine what has been a tremendous model." She also visited Yunus, whom she has known since 1986.

Results-Based Aid in Liberia: USAID Forward (and one step back)

In a recent working paper, Jacob Hughes, Walter Gwenigale and I describe Liberia’s unique experience in pooling donor funds for health in a post-conflict setting, with good results. We also describe a new and complementary agreement between Liberia and USAID, called the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA). It’s been heartening to see USAID take this step towards implementing results-based aid in Liberia, but the process has also highlighted the problems that such aid faces in the ‘real world’.