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  • Author: Peter Nunnenkamp, Wan-Hsin Liu, Frank Bickenbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: P. Chidambaram, India's Minister of Finance, claimed that "FDI worked wonders in China and can do so in India." However, China's example may also point to the limitations of foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization in promoting the host country's economic development. FDI in China is heavily concentrated in the coastal areas, and previous studies have suggested that this has contributed to the increasing disparity in regional income and growth since the late 1970s.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Provincial Councils (PCs) represent one of the best hopes for the future of local democracy in Afghanistan. Yet since their shaky formation in 2005, they continue to be overlooked by international actors preferring to interact with parliamentarians, ministers and appointed governors. The significance assigned by Afghans to winning PC seats has steadily increased over the last decade. Indeed, for many, the April 5 PC elections will do more than the presidential poll to determine whether democratic practices continue to take root in local politics. PC elections offer a chance to build local, personal ties and accountability mechanisms connecting to increasingly centralized government resources, and, in particular, an opportunity for a new generation of young, motivated Afghans to begin their political careers. As the locally-visible manifestation of the Afghan political system, PCs are the immediate face of democracy—or a lack thereof—for many Afghans. In 2009, with most news stories covering the widespread fraud in the presidential contest, the uproar over the fraud and delay throughout the PC polling process rarely received coverage on newspaper front pages. Yet those problems contributed significantly to people's sense of alienation and disillusionment with their country's political actors and electoral institutions. In spite of these experiences, Afghans are once again preparing to go to the polls. Voters, candidates, parties and local organizations are putting greater emphasis than ever on the process of provincial council polling—expressing concern about the prospects for fraud, mobilizing around their candidates and campaigning in earnest. If due attention to the process is not paid by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and by international agencies, popular participation in future elections could drop. Prospects for Afghan democratization will depend much on how these and future provincial-level elections are conducted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Demographics, Development, Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Economic inequality – the skewed distribution of income and wealth – is soaring. Oxfam's own research has found that the 85 richest individuals in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population. Economic inequality is also putting lives on the line – more than 1.5 million lives are lost each year due to high income inequality in rich countries alone. A recent study of 93 countries estimated that reducing the income share of the richest 20 per cent by just one percentage point could save the lives of 90,000 infants each year. Estimates also show that failing to tackle inequality will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the price tag of ending poverty, putting the achievement of any new post-2015 poverty goals in jeopardy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Poverty, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Louis T. Wells
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A recent Perspective concluded that, in countries given to sudden shifts in policy, "a host country government equity stake in a project may decrease project risk by giving the state a reason not to demand a renegotiation." An investor may benefit, but does the host country? In my experience, rarely.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Alex Ezeh
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The challenges are fourfold: (1) national statistics offices have limited independence and unstable budgets, (2) misaligned incentives encourage the production of inaccurate data, (3) donor priorities dominate national priorities, and (4) access to and usability of data are limited. The Data for African Development Working Group's recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, Nabil Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures donors' performance on 31 indicators of aid quality to which donors have made commitments. The indicators are grouped into four dimensions associated with effective aid: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on partner countries, and transparency and learning. The 2014 edition finds that donors are overall becoming more transparent and better at fostering partner country institutions but that there has been little progress at maximizing efficiency or reducing the burden on partner countries. The World Bank's concessional lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), performs very well in QuODA, ranking in the top 10 of 31 donors on all four dimensions. The United States ranks in the bottom half of all donors on three of the four dimensions of aid quality and last on reducing the burden on partner countries. The United Kingdom ranks in the top third on three of four dimensions of aid quality and scores particularly well on transparency and learning. The Global Fund ranks in the bottom third on fostering institutions but ranks in the top third on the other three dimensions of aid quality, including the top spot in maximizing efficiency.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Lysa John
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2014, a new multilateral and Southern-led development bank is expected to be launched by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – better known as the BRICS. The BRICS Development Bank will provide a fresh source of finance for developing and emerging economies to meet their development needs. Little has been made public regarding the proposed Bank's core mandate or activities but while governments negotiate the technicalities of the Bank, it is critical that they also provide a solid vision of the principles, priorities and objectives on which the Bank's activities and operations will be premised. This policy brief recommends that these include commitments to: ending extreme poverty and inequality, with a special focus on gender equity and women's rights; aligning with environmental and social safeguards and establishing mechanisms for information sharing, accountability and redress; leadership on the sustainable development agenda; the creation of mechanisms for public consultation and debate; and the adoption a truly democratic governance structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, International Cooperation, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Kathryn Hochstetler
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The BRICS countries held their annual meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil on July 15-17, 2014. While there, they formally launched their NDB, answering some of the many lingering questions about its function (BRICS 2014). The Shanghai based bank will have at least US$50 billion in initial capital, making it a significant new entrant into the sphere of global development finance. India will hold its first rotating presidency, but all five of the countries have particular roles to play. The lengthy presidential declaration gave little new information about the kinds of projects that will receive funding; however, simply repeating earlier statements that it will finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects. This policy brief examines how the NDB is likely to approach those two policy objectives, and notes a potential clash of these goals. There is already abundant evidence on this issue in the 2013 agreements and in the current financing patterns of the various national development banks of the BRICS member countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Development, Environment
  • Author: Hayley Mackinnon
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Between 1991 and 2009, more than 2.5 million Somali citizens fled their homeland to Ethiopia, Djibouti and, most notably, Kenya, following the collapse of the Somalian government of Siad Barre. This led to violent clashes between various factional clan groups, and fighting to control land and resources ensued. This resulted in the displacement, starvation and slaughter of thousands of civilians, leading to a crisis that prompted international intervention during the 1990s.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: That nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, U.S. and Germany) were extended beyond the 20 July 2014 deadline was neither unexpected nor unwelcome. The parties ha d made enough headway to justify the extension, which was envisioned in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was signed in November 2013 and came into force in January, but given the political and technical complexity, they remain far apart on fundamental issues. Unless they learn the lessons of the last six months and change their approach for the next four, they will lose the opportunity for a resolution not just by the new 24 November deadline but for the foreseeable future. Both sides need to retreat from maximalist positions, particularly on Iran's enrichment program. Tehran should postpone plans for industrial- scale enrichment and accept greater constraints on the number of its centrifuges in return for P5+1 flexibility on the qualitative growth of its enrichment capacity through research and development.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, France