CGD founding president Nancy Birdsall has seen a few US presidents come and go in her long career as a leading development economist, but her message to all occupants of the White House has remained fairly steady: Enact smart policies that help developing countries build stable, prosperous economies of their own—and that will help people at home too. This week she joins the CGD Podcast to talk about some of those ideas, and why development should be a priority for the next US president.
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Yesterday at the White House Summit on Global Development, as President Obama outlined the programmatic successes of his administration’s global development policy (all genuine and worthy of acclaim), he didn’t even bother to mention the response to the global financial crisis that consumed his administration for much of its first year. Yet, when we consider just how perilous the economic conditions were for the United States and the world during that time, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the cause of global development was served at least as much by these efforts than by any single development initiative launched by an American president.
White House summits, which in recent years have addressed everything from African American LGBTQ Youth to Working Families, serve two main purposes: to make progress on a set of policy issues and to signal that the issues are a priority for the president. In this way, it’s encouraging to see the newly announced White House Summit on Global Development. More than a late term victory lap for President Obama’s global development policies and programs, I’m hopeful that this summit promotes approaches to development that will carry over into the next administration.