Over the past couple of weeks Malawi has become the latest poster child for UK campaigns arguing that changes to the international tax system can deliver outsize returns for development. Specifically, Action Aid is calling on the UK government to renegotiate a 60-year-old tax treaty. Questions were also raised about this issue in the House of Commons.
CGD Policy Blogs
The topic of priority-setting has gained some serious momentum since CGD’s 2012 seminal working group report: in January, nearly 1,000 policymakers, practitioners, researchers, donors, and advocates gathered at the 2016 Prince Mahidol Awards Conference (PMAC) in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss priority-setting for universal health coverage (UHC).
No one really understands why the first letter is lower case and the rest are in capitals. But one thing that is clear to anyone who has heard of iDSI is that it fills a growing gap in how developing countries decide how to allocate their strained health budgets. The International Decision Support Initiative is a network of expert organizations that helps policymakers make effective, efficient, and ethical decisions about how to prioritize limited resources.
As the Administration prepares to ask Congress for an emergency $1.8 billion to support the Zika response, I’m reminded again that the United States is the de facto first responder to infectious disease outbreaks of public health importance. The US government has the technical know-how, financial and logistical resources, and political support to act quickly and save lives.
The International Decision Support Initiative Is Scaling Up—That Means Better Decisions and Better Health
The International Decision Support Initiative, initially launched as the result of a CGD working group, is scaling up, and that’s good news for people making life-and-death decisions in low- and middle-income countries. It means more data on what works and more guidance on how to get the most out of scarce resources for health.
After two and a half great years as director of CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, I’m handing over the reins to my colleague Scott Morris. Many of you will know Scott as a CGD Senior Fellow with deep experience from the Treasury and on Capitol Hill. He’s a thought leader on many US development issues, especially the multilateral development banks and international debt. Rethink could not be in better hands as we start thinking about a new administration and Co
The World Bank’s Poverty Statistics Lack Median Income Data, So We Filled In the Gap Ourselves — Download Available
PovcalNet, the World Bank’s global poverty database, provides all kinds of country statistics, including mean income, the share (and number) of the population living in absolute poverty ($1.90), the poverty gap and several measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. But one thing it doesn’t provide is median income or consumption. The median is a better measure of “typical” well-being than the mean, which is always skewed to the right.
We’ve been waiting for the World Bank to add these medians to its PovcalNet database, but we got impatient and did it ourselves. By manually running a few hundred queries in PovcalNet, we now have (and can share with you) the latest median income/consumption data for 144 countries (using 2011 PPPs — more on our methods below).
There was a little-noticed gem among the announcements from the London conference on Syria. The headlines focused on the $10 billion of aid that has been pledged. But donors would be deluded if they thought that this additional aid, even it arrives and is properly used, would be enough to stop large numbers of refugees from trying to migrate.
The UN’s World Food Program now estimates that some three million Zimbabweans, or roughly one-quarter of the population, may require food aid this year. Zimbabwe is suffering from erratic rainfall this year, blamed in large part on the El Niño weather phenomena. An estimated 70% of Zimbabweans rely on agriculture, so the impact on poverty and human welfare will no doubt be severe. But in reading about Zimbabwe’s current predicament, something struck me: neighboring Zambia seems to have no urgent food aid requirements.
To combat child marriage, the UN calls for, among other steps, the enactment of laws to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18. Zimbabwe is poised to follow this advice following a Constitutional Court ruling last month when human rights lawyer Tendai Biti (a former minister of finance and CGD visiting fellow) won a landmark case in Zimbabwe’s highest court that ruled marriage before age 18 is illegal.