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A Challenge for Jim Yong Kim, New President of the World Bank—What to Do in Fragile States?

This post is joint with Ross Thuotte

Today, the World Bank announced that Jim Yong Kim will be the institution’s next president. As the dust settles from the leadership selection debate, the focus will necessarily shift to the issues that confront Kim and the world’s leading development institution. One of the most difficult and important questions is: how can the bank more effectively engage in fragile and conflict-affected countries?

Fresh Ideas for New U.S. Ambassador to Haiti

Update: On March 29, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pamela White to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.

Assuming she is confirmed by the Senate, Pamela White is set to become the next U.S. ambassador to Haiti. In her March 14 confirmation hearing, White and the senators agreed on one message: Haiti’s unstable government is impeding post-earthquake recovery, including U.S. aid efforts. But White could consider alternative approaches—from migration policy to mobile money—that might do more to help Haitians right now.

Fake Aid

This is a joint post with Justin Sandefur

Winning hearts and minds is a key part of the US Military’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and a major rationale for USAID’s $15 billion investment in the country. This strategy rests on Secretary Clinton’s vision that defense, development and diplomacy are closely linked, mutually reinforcing goals -- a win-win-win foreign policy love triangle.

Some development experts, channeling their inner Dr. Phil, have been skeptical of this model. But much of the industry has been won over by the lure of Pentagon-sized budgets for real aid projects serving real development goals like rural development and girls’ education.

What to Do About U.S. Aid to Pakistan -- Nancy Birdsall and Arvind Subramanian

The debate over U.S. foreign assistance in Pakistan has grown hotter lately, with Stanford political scientist Stephen Krasner arguing in Foreign Affairs that the United States should get tough by threatening to halt aid to Pakistan to force the country into cooperating better on security matters. CGD president Nancy Birdsall responded with an article in Foreign Policy. Drawing on the recommendations of a 2011 CGD study group report, Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan, she argued that U.S. development assistance should be focused on helping to create a stable, prosperous Pakistan—goals that are in America’s own best interest and would be ill-served by trying to use the aid as a bargaining chip.

Is CGD’s Pakistan Initiative Off the Mark?

This is a joint post with and Danny Cutherell.

Over on the Global Dashboard blog, Seth Kaplan has posted a critique of CGD’s Pakistan initiative. In a post titled, “What’s Wrong With CGD’s Pakistan Initiative” Kaplan knocks the CGD Pakistan initiative for saying “almost nothing specific about Pakistan”; “ignoring the “drivers of its political economy”; and relying on “one-size-fits-all solutions.” As members of CGD’s Pakistan initiative, we welcome Seth’s critique of our work (indeed, we were happy to feature another one of our critics in a previous blog) and take this as an opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding about our approach and findings.

What the U.S. Can Do in Pakistan Now – Milan Vaishnav and Danny Cutherell

U.S. - Pakistan relations, troubled in the best of times, have been unusually rocky of late. A recent cover story in The Atlantic dubbed Pakistan the “Ally from Hell.” CGD’s Study Group on the U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan argues that the strong U.S. interest in a stable, prosperous Pakistan makes savvy U.S. support for development there more important than ever. In this week’s wonkcast, post-doctoral research fellow Milan Vaishnav and policy analyst Danny Cutherell discuss the recent upsets in U.S.-Pakistan relations and offer practical suggestions, drawn from the CGD Study Group’s report and a recent open letter from CGD president Nancy Birdsall to deputy secretary of state Thomas Nides, which focuses on U.S. support for private sector growth in Pakistan.

Military and Development, a Not-So-Unlikely Pair -- Vijaya Ramachandran and Julie Walz

Vijaya RamachandranThe U.S. military has become increasingly involved in economic development, fulfilling roles normally played by USAID and other development NGOs. My guests this week, senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran and research assistant Julie Walz, discuss their recent paper written with Gregory Johnson on the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), which provides funds for development projects in Afghanistan as part of the military’s development operations.

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