Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

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A $400,000 Drug and Why It Matters for Global Health

This year, Revista Epoca reported that a man named Rafael Favaro sued the government of Brazil to obtain public subsidy for lifetime treatment of a rare form of anemia (PNH). His treatment—Soliris—costs Brazilian taxpayers approximately $440,000 per year and is among the most expensive medicines in the world. Most US insurers do not cover the medicine, only Quebec funds the medicine in Canada, and Scotland does not provide any subsidy.

You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Cash

The Better Than Cash Alliance announced its existence last week. The vibe I get from the website is of an organization that doesn't lack for resources, but has yet to develop identity, culture, and confidence. It is a partnership of the Gates and Ford foundations, the Omidyar Network (Pierre Omidyar being the creator of eBay), USAID, Citi, Visa, and the U.N. Capital Development Fund, which I assume means they're the funders (except that UNCDF is the "secretariat," meaning it's administering the thing).

The New Bottom Billion -- Andy Sumner

This Wonkcast was originally recorded in February 2011. Andy Sumner updates the data from the original Bottom Billion brief in his recent working paper, Where Will the World's Poor Live? An Update on Global Poverty and the New Bottom Billion.

Paul Collier’s 2007 book, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, changed the way we think about poverty and development. Collier argued that the majority of the 5-billion people in the "developing world" live in countries with sustained high growth rates and would eventually escape from poverty. The rest—the bottom billion—live in 58 small, poor, often land-locked countries that are growing very slowly or not at all. These countries, stuck in poverty traps, should be the focus of foreign aid, Collier argued.

The Next Administration Should Close Africa’s Energy Poverty Gap

What’s going to be President Obama’s legacy on Africa?  President Clinton championed AGOA, still the core of US-Africa trade relations. President Bush built PEPFAR and the MCC.  There’s an outside chance that Feed the Future could be Obama’s lasting contribution, but I think the jury’s still out.  So what kind of big impact-big splash effort could we hope for in the next four years, from either a second Obama term or a new Romney administration?

The New Indian Politics: No Slowdown, No Panic

This piece originally appeared in the Financial Times on September 23, 2012 (gated) and is posted here with permission.

The Indian government’s recent reforms to reduce government subsidies and embrace greater foreign direct investment were unexpected and bold. Markets have rewarded them with surging stock prices and a rebound in the value of the rupee. The reforms may yet be reversed or diluted because of the political backlash. Their impact may be more symbolic than substantive. Nevertheless, they are significant in that they reflect changes in the operating assumptions of Indian politics.

Counting Haiti’s Private Sector

This is a joint post with Vijaya Ramachandran.

The first-ever National Business Census began in Haiti this month. A census of formal and informal businesses has never been conducted and there is no comprehensive business database. Although a daunting task, the census will likely help to strengthen small and medium enterprises and increase local procurement.

The survey began September 3rd and will be conducted by 500 interviewers recruited by 42 supervisors from across the country – at a cost of 26 million gourdes (around $600,000). Wilson Laleau, the Minister of Trade and Industry, explained that this survey will enable the government to assist entrepreneurs with access to credit, help meeting standards, and entering new markets. Maintaining crops, inventories, and production is notoriously difficult with disasters such as Hurricane Isaac. A comprehensive census could improve access to credit and insurance coverage for natural disasters. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said: “Everyone recognizes the importance of such an activity… [a census is a] prerequisite to any policy to support the development of entrepreneurship in Haiti.”

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