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

The Sustainable Development Goals should be “ambitious but not ludicrous” says John Norris, a member of the President’s Global Development Council, set up in 2012 to advise the administration on US development policy.

Norris, a former staffer at the UN and USAID, and now at the Center for American Progress, told the CGD Podcast there should be “far fewer goals” than the current 17 and “far fewer targets” (right now there are 169).

Direct download: John_Norris_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39 PM

Poverty reduction through economic growth: that is the guiding principle of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and one it has adhered to through its first decade of operations. I sat down with MCC CEO Dana Hyde to reflect on the MCC’s first ten years and get her outlook on its next ten years.

Direct download: Hyde_Edited_AK_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29 PM

For Anne-Marie Slaughter, architect of the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, what was most pleasing about the second one, released last week, was that there was a second one. ‘It’s hard to have a quadrennial review if it’s only one,’ she told me in the latest CGD Podcast.

Direct download: Anne-Marie_Slaughter_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31 PM

Is better good enough? When it comes to climate change, Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, says probably not. However, he does think there are reasons to hope. He points to ambitious pledges by both developing and developed countries to reduce carbon emissions, and a landmark deal between the world’s two largest polluters, China and the US. While Steer admits there are political and financial obstacles amid all the optimism, he thinks practical policies, such as taxing carbon, will silence the skeptics in this crucial year for global cooperation on climate and development. Listen to the full podcast here. 

Direct download: AG_podcast_edit3_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13 PM

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