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  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Louise Van Schaik
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Colombia. As a result of renewed international activity and high vulnerability to the effects of climate change, Colombia has embraced ambitious green growth objectives and climate change mitigation goals. Rapid economic growth and rising peak demand centres for energy may well go hand in hand with clean energy uptake. Most Colombian citizens are highly aware of the need for a low-carbon growth trajectory and the country has already invested substantially in renewable energy development. However, dominance of private sector interests within the state, resulting from a powerful transnational alliance of extractive industries, may hamper long-term green growth efforts to succeed. Greening the private sector in a post-conflict Colombia may prove to be one of the crucial steps in consolidating Colombia’s low-carbon growth trajectory.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ries Kamphof
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Kenya. It is part of a two-year research project on energy security and green growth in middle income countries by means of political economy analysis. Other project outputs can be found here. Kenya has taken a leading role in the region on several fronts, including its ambitions to address climate change and boost green growth while improving the country’s energy security. Efforts have been underway to realise this goal. Most vividly illustrated by the execution of large-scale geothermal, hydro and wind power projects. Yet, not all is straightforward. Constitutional reform has led to a new institutional framework which presents both opportunities and obstacles to green growth implementation. Moreover, the presence of oil and coal reserves and the ambition to exploit these threaten efforts to build a low-carbon economy. Kenya is currently at crossroads, and decisions taken today may influence its green growth potential for the decades to come.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Owen Barder, Petra Krylová
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Moving beyond comparing how much foreign aid each country gives, the CDI quantifies a range of rich country policies that affect poor people.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Turkey will play a significant role in Syria's future, more so than any other neighbor, though the history between the two nations has been a troubled one Although Turkey's President Erdogan was at first keen to have good relations with Syria's President Assad, and succeeded in doing so, since 2011, they have gone sour Turkey is determined to influence the outcome of Syria's civil war, even if it finds no support from its allies The reappointment of Hakan Fidan to head the Turkish Intelligence Service may usher in a more active phase of Turkish involvement in the conflict.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: • A multinational joint task force consisting of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger has driven Boko Haram from key territorial strongholds in northeastern Nigeria; on June 18, the Chadian military conducted airstrikes against six Boko Haram bases in Nigeria • But the terror group continues to launch deadly, near-daily attacks throughout the region—including on June 15 with twin suicide bombings in Chad—using guerrilla tactics rather than conventional warfare • Nigeria’s newly-inaugurated president, Muhammadu Buhari, has moved quickly to support regional counter-Boko Haram efforts, insisting on Nigerian leadership in the task force and pledging $100 million in financial support • Despite the nascent successes of the joint task force, Islamic State gains in North Africa and, in particular, Libya, could impact the flow of weapons and fighters into Nigeria; Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March of this year.
  • Topic: Development, Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: China’s coal consumption fell marginally in 2014, the first such drop this century, in large part as a result of its policies to address its severe air pollution, develop renewable and alternative energy, and transition its economy away from heavy industry. China should take advantage of its current circumstances to adopt an aggressive national coal consumption cap target and policy to peak its coal consumption as soon as possible, no later than its next Five Year Plan (2016–2020), so that it can peak its CO2 emissions by 2025. It can achieve this target by building upon its existing achievements in developing clean energy such as wind and solar power, and by prioritizing renewable energy development over coal in its western expansion. China can help lead a transition to clean energy that will contribute greatly to global efforts to keep warming to no more than 2°C, and can serve as a model for other developing countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran, Lindsay Oldenski
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Japan is reemerging as the most important source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. In 2013 Japanese firms were the largest source of new inflows of FDI into the United States for the first time since 1992, injecting almost $45 billion of fresh investment into the US economy in that year alone. Moran and Oldenski show how Japanese investment in the United States differs from that of other countries along several dimensions. These differences not only make FDI by Japanese firms especially valuable but point to some important policy goals for attracting it. Although the automotive sector is the single largest industry for Japanese investment in the United States, the focus should not be on competing to attract the auto industry in particular nor should any active industrial policy of "picking winners" be pursued. Japanese investment is unique because of its research and development intensity, manifested across a number of industries in which Japanese multinationals invest other than automobiles. US policy should focus on reinforcing and expanding the factors that attract high-performing firms and high-value production stages to the United States, regardless of industry.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, United States
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the latest FutureScape issue brief from the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security's Strategic Foresight Initiative, author Peter Engelke discusses the long-term economic, environmental, and policy implications of urbanization. Entitled "Foreign Policy for an Urban World: Global Governance and the Rise of Cities," the brief examines how urbanization is hastening the global diffusion of power and how cities themselves are increasingly important nodes of power in global politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Lassourd
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: This briefing note is an effort to help frame the main tradeoffs and assess four potential funding models for the newly created national oil company of Uganda. It is based on NRGI’s international experience and understanding of the local context. Uganda’s national oil company will have a critical role. It is expected to professionally manage all aspects of state participation in the sector and act as a center of expertise for the government. It is also expected to play a strong role as a minority equity partner in the USD 4.3 billion Hoima refinery project and potentially in a USD 4 billion export pipeline. Under all possible funding options, strong audit and reporting processes should be required, as well as parliamentary oversight. The chosen funding model will also need to balance the needs of the national oil company with national development needs in Uganda. Funding model options can be adapted to meet Uganda’s unique situation. NRGI is at the disposal of Uganda’s government and parliament to discuss these models.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: David Manley
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: There has rarely been as large a commodity boom, with such resounding effects, as the one that has recently ended. Policy makers and commentators saw the boom as an opportunity to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But, after the crash of commodity prices, one might ask whether this opportunity been largely missed. Policymakers and citizens of resource-rich countries should draw lessons from the experience and ascertain what risks and opportunities they now face in a period of depressed prices. To contribute to this thinking, NRGI gathered more than 180 experts for two days of discussion at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in June 2015. Key questions addressed in this conference summary paper include: Were countries prepared for the bust? Was a lack of accountability and transparency really to blame for countries’ poor resource governance efforts? How can transparency be more useful? Has the price slump closed the door on new investment? Is there a “race to the bottom” to stem capital flight? Can we turn the crisis into an opportunity?
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi , Kelsey Shantz
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. In this year’s survey, 31 CIGI experts conclude that international economic arrangements continue to show a level of “status quo,” averaging a score of 50% across all five areas. The 2015 survey indicates a slight improvement to the result of last year’s survey, which suggested a minimal regression overall. The experts’ assessment of progress was most promising in the area of climate change cooperation, with an average score of 57%, whereas the least promising area was macroeconomic and financial cooperation, with a score of 44%, indicating minimal regression. The remaining three areas polled all fell within the “status quo” range, with trade at 46%, development at 48% and international cooperation on financial regulation at 53%. Interestingly, in the area of cooperation on development, CIGI’s experts provided a relatively mixed assessment. Responses varied based on experts’ perception of the effectiveness of current rhetoric, from 70% (indicating some progress) to 10% (suggesting major regression). Compared to last year, climate change governance has made the greatest improvement, but the remaining three areas (with the exception of development, which was not included in the 2014 survey) have all, on average, regressed further or remained stagnant. This trend is cause for concern.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Celis Parra, Krista Dinsmore, Nicole Fassina, Charlene Keizer
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Urban food insecurity is distinct from that experienced in rural areas and must be addressed through a different set of policies. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 recommends that governments aim to improve food security and nutrition over the next 15 years in response to the global challenge of fostering sustainability.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Suzan Ilcan, Marcia Oliver, Laura Connoy
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Increasingly, refugees residing in refugee camps are living in protracted situations for which there are no quick remedies. Existing attempts to address protracted situations for refugees engage with the concept and practices of the Self-reliance Strategy (SRS). This paper focuses on the SRS in Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement. It draws attention to the strategy's disconnection from the social and economic relations within which refugees live in settlements, and its inability to provide refugees with sufficient access to social support and protection.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Marko Lovec
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The recent food security crisis has shed light on the importance of agricultural development in the South Mediterranean countries. An ‘urban bias’ and ‘trade liberalisation’ policies have resulted in growing dependence on imports, narrow specialisations and unsustainable production practices. The Euro-Mediterranean integration process has put trade liberalisation in the centre of attention, while the progress in agriculture has been limited. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the challenges faced by agro-food systems in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries, with specific attention to the role of the Euro-Mediterranean integration and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The paper also reviews relevant economic and environmental data in selected South and East Mediterranean countries.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi , Kelsey Shanty
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. In this year’s survey, 31 CIGI experts conclude that international economic arrangements continue to show a level of “status quo,” averaging a score of 50% across all five areas. The 2015 survey indicates a slight improvement to the result of last year’s survey, which suggested a minimal regression overall. The experts’ assessment of progress was most promising in the area of climate change cooperation, with an average score of 57%, whereas the least promising area was macroeconomic and financial cooperation, with a score of 44%, indicating minimal regression. The remaining three areas polled all fell within the “status quo” range, with trade at 46%, development at 48% and international cooperation on financial regulation at 53%. Interestingly, in the area of cooperation on development, CIGI’s experts provided a relatively mixed assessment. Responses varied based on experts’ perception of the effectiveness of current rhetoric, from 70% (indicating some progress) to 10% (suggesting major regression). Compared to last year, climate change governance has made the greatest improvement, but the remaining three areas (with the exception of development, which was not included in the 2014 survey) have all, on average, regressed further or remained stagnant. This trend is cause for concern.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus