global_prosperity_wonkcast
International development experts share their views about ways wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries.

Is the World Bank still relevant? As it approaches its 75th anniversary that’s the question I put to Shanta Devarajan, the Bank’s Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa in our latest CGD podcast. We’ve been looking ahead to the Bank’s 75th anniversary in a few years’ time and asking what is the role of the World Bank in development in a rapidly evolving global landscape, when Bank lending competes with a growing number of other sources of financing? And what might the World Bank look like at 100? Ambitiously, Devarajan hopes to see the Bank well on its way to putting itself out of business. Have a listen. 

Direct download: AG_podcast2_edit7_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42 PM

The seed of today’s podcast was planted back in April 2014. That’s when Nigeria made a statistical change to the way it calculates its GDP. Overnight, Nigeria’s GDP estimate shot up by 89%, making it the biggest economy in Africa.

Dr Yemi Kale, statistician general at the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria, led the team that made that startling revision. Some say Nigeria’s experience highlights how poor the state of African data was – a statistical tragedy in Africa, as one leading economist put it. Is it still? Or is there a statistical reawakening on the continent, as suggested in a paper by Dr Kale and Professor Morten Jurven of Simon Fraser University. They both joined me for this podcast.

Direct download: The_Man_Who_Almost_Doubled_Nigerias_Economy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:54 PM

Tanzania made a big discovery in 2012 – a deposit of offshore natural gas roughly equal to the per capita annual income of the average Tanzanian. Precedent would indicate that the country now faces a "resource curse," the paradox of having abundant natural resources but less than stellar growth. In this podcast, CGD research fellow Justin Sandefur discusses the options available to the Tanzanian government for avoiding this curse, as well as unique CGD research taking place on the ground to determine how Tanzanians feel any natural resource revenue should be utilized.

Direct download: Natural_Resource_Revenue_in_Tanzania.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07 PM

CGD senior fellow Ben Leo says that the United States is losing influence in the developing world due to its outdated development finance mechanisms. He shares his proposals for a US Development Finance Corporation.

Direct download: 21st_Cent_Dev_Policy_Ben_Leo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09 PM

Why is Africa underdeveloped? Is it the commonly-cited reasons of political corruption and colonization, or its modern counterpart, globalization? Kingsley Moghalu has his own ideas. He believes Africa's development potential lies in the hands of Africans themselves. Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and author of a new book called Emerging Africa, expands on lessons-learned in Nigeria and on Africa's development future as a whole in this week's podcast. 

Direct download: Kingsley_edit7_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01 PM

Rules to name, shame, and punish banks, whose clients may funnel money to terror groups, are denying much-needed funds to developing countries. It’s a clash of two sets of sound policies, says Clay Lowery, former assistant secretary for international affairs at the US Treasury and the chair of a CGD working group on this problem of “de-banking.” “Those two policies are in conflict with each other,” Lowery says, “and that’s a very difficult thing to overcome.”

The first set of policies was designed to curb money laundering and the financing of terrorism, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Lowery told me in a new CGD podcast. Faced with the obligation of trying to track the final destination of money flows they service — and the reputational risk involved if their clients are less than law-abiding — a string of big-name financial institutions have simply been closing down the accounts of legitimate businesses that offer remittance services to millions of people working in different countries.

 

One of the primary aims of those rules, Lowery says, “was to hurt the reputation of financial institutions: so if they were going to be doing business with bad people we were going to ‘out’ [them]. So that reputational risk became something that banks worried about a lot.” 

The second set of policies was focused on how to facilitate finance flows into developing countries in an efficient way that aids economic growth and development. Remittances — money sent home by workers overseas — are estimated to total $400bn annually through formal channels and another $130bn through informal channels. They have become a huge source of revenue for developing countries — far greater than official aid. Money transfer organizations are often the only route available to send funds to poor countries. De-banking may deny revenue to some criminal or terror groups but it also stops innocent people sending much-needed money to their families.

As Lowery and I discussed, central banks in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as regulators and policymakers are among many key players examining these unintended consequences of rich countries’ anti–money laundering policies, along with CGD’s working group which aims to report later this year.

Direct download: Clay_Lowery_newedit_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:31 PM

“It’s nice to have a list,” CGD senior fellow Scott Morris told me about the shortlist of eight candidates for the Presidency of the African Development Bank. He was giving credit to the Bank for holding what appears to be a truly transparent election process to succeed out-going President Donald Kaberuka. Who’s on the list? What’s good about it? And where does it fall short? These are all things Scott and I discussed in the latest CGD Podcast. Take a listen….

Direct download: AfDB_Presidential_Candidates_-_Scott_Morris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

USAID Administrator Raj Shah has called for “massive private and commercial-sector investment” in development as imperative to ending extreme poverty. As he prepares to step down after five years at the helm of America’s international development agency, Dr. Shah sat down with me to record a CGD Podcast. The wide-ranging interview looked back at the successes – and lessons learned – and looked ahead to the major Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in the summer, as well as to America’s evolving role in international development. 

Direct download: Raj_Shah_final_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48 PM

In its first decade, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has set itself apart from other development agencies with its focus on three key pillars: policy performance, results, and country ownership. But has this focus translated into impact? Senior Policy Analyst Sarah Rose and Visiting Fellow Franck Wiebe have just released a suite of policy briefs and papers that evaluates this very question. To hear Sarah and Franck’s take on what MCC has done well and what it can do better in its next decade, tune in to the full podcast.

Direct download: Wiebe_Rose_final_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34 PM

In our first podcast of the new year and my first podcast as new host, I speak with CGD's president Nancy Birdsall on her expectations for 2015 as they relate to global development. We cover growing inequality, the marquee moments for development in 2015, and Nancy makes the case for optimism on the post-2015 development agenda. Have a listen.

Direct download: The_Development_Landscape_in_2015_and_Beyond_-_Nancy_Birdsall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57 PM