East Asia’s miracle countries are the stuff of both economic legend and considerable debate. One part of the story may be demographics: East Asia saw rising life expectancy and declining birth rates that dramatically, if temporarily, increased the proportion of the population that was of working age. But now the demographics have shifted as a result of falling birth rates and a rising population of retirement-aged people. Absent a policy response, that could portend a cursed demographic future.
CGD Policy Blogs
Giving up the “Statebuilding” Ghost: Lessons from Afghanistan for Foreign Assistance in Fragile States
The end of America’s twenty-year war in Afghanistan will change many paradigms that have dominated US foreign policy for decades. President Biden’s recent assertion that military interventions are not the solution to humanitarian crises is a good place to start. Just as urgent is the need to revisit the notion that foreign assistance can build a state.
Afghanistan’s history is blighted by the actions of foreigners. The near-neighbours have plenty on their consciences; others further afield do too, including the British a century ago, the Russians in the 1980s, and the US-led NATO coalition over the last 20 years. So who wants what now?
Calls have been made for the international community to protect and support education for Afghan children at home and abroad. Last week Gordon Brown urged the G7 to continue funding education for girls in Afghanistan, as long as the Taliban government allows girls to attend school. We agree, but with caveats. We urge the G7 and the broader international community to step up their own hosting of Afghan refugees, to ensure that education is included in humanitarian responses, and to embrace local solutions as they move to protect education for Afghan girls and boys.
Among the multilateral development banks, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stands out for its strong financial support for COVID-19 response relative to its overall lending volume. While ADB has proven to be responsive to government’s general financing needs during the crisis, has ADB’s performance matched the specific needs of the governments and populations facing the crisis in the region? Have the greater volumes of support actually targeted the people, places, and sectors that most need it? In a new policy paper, we tackle these questions.
Despite huge gains made in girls' education over the last two decades, a potentially devastating new era in Afghanistan threatens progress to date. We take a look at what is at risk for girls’ education.
The education gaps that are closing between boys and girls in many countries persist in Pakistan. Our large new household survey on the factors associated with differences in gender norms sheds light on what policymakers can do in the post-COVID world to address the gender gap and improve opportunities for girls. Here are four things we learnt from the survey results.
Over the past year we partnered with researchers in Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda to document, from a whole-of-health perspective, what we know about the nature, scale, and scope of COVID-19’s disruptions to essential health services in those countries, and the health effects of such disruptions. In a working paper released today, we build on a blog we published in March when we released working papers from each country team (the papers are available here: Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda). In this new working paper, we summarize the results and lessons across the four countries in more detail. We also tie together many of the blogs we have written on this topic over the past year (this series of blogs can be found here).
Among South Asian economies, Bangladesh is touted as a rising star. But is the praise entirely justified? Can Bangladesh now serve as a model for other countries, perhaps offering an alternative to the longstanding East Asian export-led growth paradigm? The jury is still out however, and the evidence raises doubt that the East Asian icons face serious competition from Bangladesh—at least not yet.
To get a better picture of the effects of the pandemic on education in Pakistan, we carried out another round of our survey of students and parents. We found gender differences in learning loss, little engagement with government teleschool, dropping parental support for further closures, and more.