Me, perhaps. In my last post on why President Obama should make electricity his signature Africa policy initiative, I claimed:
CGD Policy Blogs
The next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be the first from Latin America and just the second from a developing country. Ambassador Bashir of Pakistan announced on Friday that Roberto Azevedo from Brazil and Herminio Blanco from Mexico will advance to the final round of consultations while Mari Pangestu from Indonesia, Taeho Bark from Korea, and Tim Groser from New Zealand withdrew.
The conflict in Syria has dragged on for 26 months, and the international community has seemingly exhausted its options for non-lethal aid and support to the Syrian opposition. Now, with new allegations that chemical weapons were likely used by the Assad regime, the United States and others may be inching closer to putting boots on the ground.
I was pleasantly surprised by the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week on the FY2014 USAID and MCC budgets. I expected a remix of the partisan spats I watched two years ago. Instead, there was impressive congressional turnout plus serious questions and thorough answers. There was even some friendly competition between USAID and MCC. But five contradictions come up anytime foreign aid is on the Hill and the latest budget hearing was no exception.
In 2010, World Bank statistics report that Guinea-Bissau had a youth literacy rate of 72%. That means seven in ten people aged 15-24 were estimated to be able to read and write a simple paragraph. The estimate was probably made on the basis of that many kids having been in school long enough that they should have easily mastered such a basic skill. The official net enrollment rate was 74% --about three quarters of primary-age kids were enrolled in school.
Goals Are Good (Whether You’re Running a Marathon or the World Bank), But It’s the Strategy That Really Matters
I have a goal of running a faster marathon at 47 than I did at 27. It helps that I wasn’t exactly a world class runner twenty years ago, and I still have a few years to reach my goal. But if you wanted to place a bet on me, you would probably want to know what my plan is for getting there.
Thank you to everyone who participated in CGD’s first official Twitter chat Thursday morning – there were great questions and discussion about immigration reform, low-skilled workers, and the impact of migration on economies.
Paraphrasing "jesting Pilate", "what is truth when academic superstars supposedly produce it?" is possibly the most important yet neglected question raised by the recent Reinhart-Rogoff (R-R) affair.
The essential facts of this episode are these: two Harvard professors, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, used their academic research to become strong advocates in the policy realm, although not among fellow academics, of the need for fiscal austerity when economies approach a threshold level of debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 per cent. Their superstar reputations (deservedly earned through previous work) rendered their advocacy influential, even highly so, in the charged policy debates in the United States and all over Europe. The research - especially the critical and attention-grabbing finding of a sharp growth discontinuity at that 90 per cent threshold - was subsequently exposed as flawed.
This is a joint post with Catherine An.
The US Congress is just getting started on a nasty immigration reform battle. And the outcome matters enormously—for developing countries and for the United States.
MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah are heading back to Capitol Hill Thursday to testify together before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I expect Yohannes and Shah will sing different parts of the same tune: the United States is prepared to do more with less as it strives to fulfill the administration’s global development vision. But it should also be a remix of their joint hearing two years ago with questions on how Congress should prioritize among US development programs. Shah and Yohannes can hit some new high notes on how their agencies are being selective with aid dollars, sharing more aid data and doing better evaluation. They should also be clear about the differences between USAID and MCC. And let’s hope the committee members can avoid the low notes from two years ago when partisan spats (including some in Latin) marred what could have been an important development policy conversation between the executive branch and Congress.