Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

New Documents Reveal the Cost of “Ending Poverty” in a Millennium Village: At Least $12,000 Per Household

Documents recently made public by the UK government reveal the cost of poverty reduction in the Millennium Villages Project, a self-described "solution to extreme poverty" in African villages created by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The project costs at least US$12,000 per household that it lifts from poverty—about 34 times the annual incomes of those households.

Why Democracies Fail: Lessons from Mali?

The recent coups in the Maldives and Mali against democratically elected leaders, and the continuing political struggles in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya following the Arab Spring, are potent reminders that democracy is a fragile institution. In fact, of the 120 attempts at democratization that have occurred around the world since 1960, nearly half have been reversed at some point. The reasons for democratic failure, however, are surprising.

Implementing Oil-to-Cash – Todd Moss

When a poor country finds oil, bad things often get worse. Countries rich in extractable natural resources, especially oil, frequently suffer from crummy governance, high poverty, endemic corruption and conflict. Is it possible to beat this oil curse? My guest on the Wonkcast this week, Todd Moss, CGD vice president for programs and senior fellow, says yes. He argues that a government that transfers some or all of its oil revenue to citizens in a universal, transparent, and regular taxable payment, could strengthen the social contract, fight corruption, and lay the foundation for future prosperity.

The Generation Chasm: Do Young Populations Have Elderly Leaders?

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz.

A colleague recently returned from Senegal and commented that she was struck by the vast gap between that country’s youthful population and its aged leader. President Abdoulaye Wade is 85 years old while the median Senegalese citizen is just 18.7 years old. Perhaps that 66-year gap is one reason that Wade, who recently jammed through a change that allows him to run for a third term while disqualifying popular musician Youssou N’Dour, seems so out of touch.

Busan’s Lasting Legacy – Owen Barder

Owen Barder

I recently interviewed Owen Barder, CGD senior fellow and director for Europe, shortly after his return from the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea. Did the December forum, with some 3,000 participants from around the world, matter to development?

Is Haiti Doomed to be the Republic of NGOs?

This is a joint post with Julie Walz.

Two years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, plunging an already poor and unstable country into complete and utter chaos. In the days and weeks that followed, international responses and donations were overwhelming. Yet almost all of the assistance provided to Haiti has bypassed its government, leaving it even less capable than before. Humanitarian agencies, NGOs, private contractors, and other non-state service providers have received 99 percent of relief aid—less than 1 percent of aid in the immediate aftermath of the quake went to public institutions or to the government. And only 23 percent of the longer-term recovery funding was channeled through the Haitian government. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of relief aid from all donors to Haiti, by recipient.

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