Probably you agree that actions meant to help poor people should be guided by the best science about what works. (Or perhaps you also have a problem with motherhood and apple pie.) And probably you'd concede that part of what makes science science is replicability. Cold fusion is a scientific joke, not a scientific advance, because the experiments seeming to generate evidence of fusion at room temperature could not be independently reproduced.
CGD Policy Blogs
On Friday evening, the governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) selected a new president: British civil servant Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The decision is important because the EBRD has recently taken on a major global challenge: assisting the countries of the Arab Spring. It also matters because the selection process raised the bar for open, transparent and merit-based leadership selection at other international institutions, including the World Bank, IMF and the other regional development banks.
President Obama announced $3 billion in new private sector investments in agriculture in three African countries at a packed event in Washington, D.C., last Friday. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is the cornerstone of the United States' 2012 G-8 commitments to development led by USAID and administrator Rajiv Shah. There's a lot to like about the partnership: presidential leadership, a link between public and private investment, and a focus on policy change. But all eyes are on how the relatively modest investments will be implemented and whether they can reach the ambitious poverty reduction targets.
This is a joint post with Christian Meyer.
One of the pressing questions for Jim Kim in the years ahead as the World Bank’s new president is what to do as many countries graduate out of IDA, the bank’s fund for grants and concessional loans to the poorest countries. To generate ideas and possible directions for IDA’s business model, CGD has convened a Future of IDA Working Group. The group’s final report with recommendations is due out in early summer, in time for ample discussion prior to the IDA 16 Mid-Term Review this fall.
Congratulations to our colleague Liliana Rojas-Suarez, named by the Peruvian Chamber of Commerce as economist of the year. Past winners include Hernando de Soto and Julio Velarde of Peru. The annual award recognizes Liliana’s many contributions on financial sector challenges and related development issues in emerging market econo
This is a joint post with Nancy Birdsall.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah stated that the United States will be working to significantly decrease the number of development projects it is currently supporting in Pakistan, from the current 140 to 35 by the end of September 2012. In Dr. Shah’s words, “If we [the U.S.] are trying to do 140 different things, we are unlikely to do things at scale in a way that an entire country of 185 million people can see and value and appreciate. We are just far more effective and we deliver much more value to American taxpayers when we concentrate and focus and deliver results.” Shah goes on to clarify that the United States will not be cutting back on the overall amount of assistance it provides: it plans to adhere to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman framework of $7.5 billion over 5 years.
I applaud Administrator Shah’s call for greater focus in the U.S. assistance portfolio and his explicit emphasis on “results.” After all, as my colleague Connie Veillette has pointed out, the Obama Administration’s Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on global development explicitly called for greater emphasis on “selectivity” and “results” in U.S. development assistance.
After an unprecedented competition, with three official nominees, the World Bank announced on Monday that the board had selected Jim Yong Kim, the Korean-born U.S. nominee, as the next president of the World Bank. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is CGD president Nancy Birdsall, who discusses why it matters who leads the bank and sets out key challenges for the incoming president.
Why the World Bank and its President Matter
It matters a lot who runs the World Bank and it matters how the president is selected. So it’s heartening to see the reforms to the World Bank leadership selection process making a difference this time. Multiple candidates have been nominated. Three will be interviewed by the bank’s executive board next week. For the first time since the bank was created in 1944 there is competition. The process is also more open than ever before.
Some excellent candidates to head the World Bank and the IMF never get nominated because they lack the support of their own country—usually because the party they are affiliated with is not in power at the critical moment. Consider, for example, Ernesto Zedillo, a former president of Mexico who now heads the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.