Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

 

Is Anyone Listening to What Ordinary Africans Think?

“Too often, donors’ decisions are driven more by our own political interests or our policy preferences than by our partners’ needs.”

These charged words did not come from an energetic NGO arguing for major changes to US development policy.  They were delivered by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a high-level gathering of development officials in late 2011. 

How Long Can You Live with This Kind of “Modern” Energy?

Lant Pritchett lambasts the donor focus on eliminating extreme poverty because getting the income of poor people to the $1.25/day threshold is a pathetic definition of success.  A decade ago Lant had proposed $15/day as more sensible minimum for human wellbeing. Today, he worries that setting our sights too low prevents us from meeting the real goal of development—to build modern, prosperous societies.

Why Ex-Im Can’t Be the Financing Cornerstone of Power Africa

Someone from an advocacy organization asked the other day why we at CGD are so focused on unleashing OPIC and not instead concentrating on the U.S. Export-Import Bank as the private sector lever for President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. After all, the Ex-Im Bank accounts for the bulk of the funding in the announcement ($5 billion as opposed to OPIC’s $1.5 billion). It’s a sensible question.

A White House Own Goal on Energy Poverty?

I’m in full agreement with Todd that it’s great the Obama administration is focusing on energy in Africa (or at least, telling Ex-Im and OPIC to focus on energy in Africa).  Todd spent a good deal of time in 2012–13 encouraging White House to make the issue a signature US foreign policy concern, blogging about it here and here, and supporting the ONE Campaign’s efforts to make it happen, so kudos to him, too.  But Todd begins his post by noting his previous frustration with the White House for dropping the ball on Africa policy.  My concern with this latest initiative is the reverse—too many balls.

Three Reasons Why Electricity Should Be President Obama’s Legacy in Africa

A month after the inauguration, it’s not too early for the White House to start thinking about legacies. President Obama will surely want some signature development achievement that will outlive his Administration and help, in the public mind, to solidify the connections between Africa and the American people. To be worthy of a US President, and especially one with a family connection to the continent, it has to be something great. Bill Clinton has AGOA. George W.