Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs


Continue with a Girl

Last week the world welcomed its seven billionth child. Whether this child is Maya (the World Bank’s virtual seven billionth child) or Danica (the UN’s symbolic but ‘real life’ seven billionth child from the Philippines), the arrival of the world’s seven billionth person has led to a renewed interest in population across many sectors of government, health, and development work.

Two Small Signs of Progress in Pakistan

As Congress returns to DC from its summer recess, it comes back to a long “to do” list.  On the foreign policy front, one pressing item is what to do with our Pakistan assistance program. And from where things stand now, it looks like the funds appropriated for Pakistan this year under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (aka the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill) may be both reduced in volume and tied to security conditions.

Famine in the Horn of Africa: Owen Barder

Owen BarderIt’s not often that the United Nations sees fit to officially declare a food crisis a famine. That’s a testament to the severity of the ongoing suffering in Somalia, a disaster of biblical proportions that has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands. But evidence abounds that famines are not only the result of natural occurrences. On the contrary, most are the shocking result of human error or, in the worst case, deliberate neglect.

How 28 Poor Countries Escaped the Poverty Trap

This is a joint post with Charles Kenny

Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000

Doctors perform cataract surgery at the Lusaka Eye Hospital in Zambia. It's inexpensive and it changes people's lives instantly, so it's a good example of how just a little bit more money can make a huge difference to the world's poorest people. Photograph: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Remember the poverty trap? Countries stuck in destitution because of weak institutions put in place by colonial overlords, or because of climates that foster disease, or geographies that limit access to global markets, or simply by the fact that poverty is overwhelmingly self-perpetuating. Apparently the trap can be escaped.

Driving Demand for Vaccinations

This blog was co-authored with Orin Levine, Executive Director, International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and it will be cross-posted on his Huffington Post blog at

In low- and middle-income countries, children living in poverty are much less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to die or become ill from a vaccine-preventable disease than better-off children. An example comes from Nigeria, where less than 5% of children in the lowest quintile of the wealth distribution were fully vaccinated in 2003, as opposed to 40% of children in the wealthiest quintile. (For more on inequalities in health, see here)