Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

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Joe Biden speaking at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention in Altoona, Iowa. Photo by Gage Skidmore / via Wikimedia Commons

$1.9 Trillion and No Money for the Multilateral Development Banks?

The Biden administration and the Congress rightly went big in the recently passed American Rescue Plan at a time of tremendous need. The package was appropriately focused on the domestic side, but it did not neglect the rest of the world. One might reasonably ask then why $1 billion or $2 billion could not have been included for fighting the poverty, food insecurity, and health crises driven by the pandemic. That would have amounted 0.05 to 0.1 percent of the total package. And it would have been multiplied many times over in additional poverty reduction dollars, because that it was the MDB model does.

An illustrated white and blue image of the White House

The White House and the World: Practical Proposals for Resetting US Engagement in Developing Countries

When President-Elect Biden takes office in January, he will face a daunting set of challenges in the US wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. His administration’s core agenda will necessarily be shaped by the twin imperatives of containing the virus itself and supporting Americans as they weather the economic effects of the crisis. Both tasks will be considerably more difficult if US policy doesn’t also pivot toward constructive engagement with the rest of the world.

US Capitol Building

Letter to Pelosi and McConnell: Recommendations for Coronavirus Emergency Legislation

Yesterday we sent the following letter to U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House Speaker, and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Majority Leader, outlining measures that could be included in upcoming Congressional emergency legislation related to combating the coronavirus in developing countries. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Senator McConnell:

Chart showing falling US pledges to IDA and rising Chinese pledges to IDA

The US and China Have Very Different Takes on IDA and the Global Fund: Why that Matters for the Future of Multilateral Aid

When it comes to the United States, the reality is that the Global Fund is winning the fundraising game hands down. China, meanwhile, doubled its contribution to IDA—contrast that with the country’s longstanding indifference to the Global Fund. Clearly the world’s most important emerging donor views the multilateral architecture differently than the world’s most important traditional donor does.

The 'Declaration of Independence' by John Trumbull (1819)

Thomas Jefferson, the Original Debt Trap Diplomat

CGD research has become Exhibit A virtually every time the charge of “debt trap diplomacy” has been leveled against China in the media this past year. Yet, our research shows that many of China’s borrowers are managing their debts just fine and seem unlikely to fall into any traps.

China and US flags

The Problem with Competing for the Allegiance of Poor Countries

In warning APEC leaders last week of China’s “constricting belt” and “one-way road,” Vice President Mike Pence provided the clearest signal yet that the US approach to foreign assistance will be shaped, if not determined, by competition with China. In the context of the administration’s trade war with China, this may not come as much of a surprise. But when it comes to the conduct of foreign assistance, it marks a striking turn away from the bipartisan approach to aid since the end of the Cold War—an approach defined around cooperation and one aimed at curbing the bad practices that arise when donors compete for the allegiance of aid recipients.

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