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Development Channel

Issues and innovations in global economic development

Fighting Bangladesh’s Sweatshops

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, January 18, 2017
A dye factory worker suns fabric after washing them in Narayanganj near Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 25, 2016 (Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain). A dye factory worker suns fabric after washing them in Narayanganj near Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 25, 2016 (Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain).

In late December, tens of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers went on strike, shutting down over fifty factories making fast-fashion clothes for international brands including Gap, H&M, and Zara. What started as a walkout in support of 121 workers fired for asking for higher pay quickly grew into larger protests demanding a tripling of the minimum wage.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Asian Trade Openness, Palm Oil Abuses, Global Magnitsky

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, December 16, 2016
A worker unloads palm fruit at a palm oil plantation in Peat Jaya, Jambi province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra September 15, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. September 15, 2015 (Reuters/Wahyu Putro A/Antara Foto). A worker unloads palm fruit at a palm oil plantation in Peat Jaya, Jambi province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra September 15, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. September 15, 2015 (Reuters/Wahyu Putro A/Antara Foto).

Trade Rules Favor Asia, Not the United States
Asia’s rise in the global trading system continues. Recent World Economic Forum data shows that the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members now outrank the European Union (EU) and United States on trade openness, reflecting deeper integration into the global economy aided by investment and trade deals. But ASEAN and other countries may have a tougher time accessing markets if protectionism in the United States and EU prevails. The rankings back up at least some of the recent political rhetoric—the United States ranks 120 out of 136 countries in terms of foreign market access, facing average tariffs of almost 5 percent—the seventh highest in the world.

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Five Questions on Innovative Finance With Georgia Levenson Keohane

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, December 6, 2016
A man holds up his mobile phone showing a M-Pesa mobile money transaction page for the photographer at an open air market in Kibera in Kenya's capital Nairobi (Reuters/Noor Khamis). A man holds up his mobile phone showing a M-Pesa mobile money transaction page for the photographer at an open air market in Kibera in Kenya's capital Nairobi (Reuters/Noor Khamis).

This post features a conversation with Georgia Levenson Keohane, executive director of the Pershing Square Foundation, adjunct professor of social enterprise at Columbia Business School, and author of Capital and the Common Good: How Innovative Finance is Tackling the World’s Most Urgent Problems. She talks about what innovative finance means and how it works, addressing its successes and limitations in putting private and public capital to work for the common good.

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The Labor Rights and Business Case for Factory Audits and Advising

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, December 2, 2016
A worker holds part of a pair of trousers at PT Trisula Garmindo Manufacturing in Bandung, West Java province September 17, 2013. In PT Trisula International's hangar-sized factory outside the western Indonesian city of Bandung, hundreds of workers stitch together clothes for some of the world's top brands. Amid the clatter and hum of their machines are hopes for a renaissance that can restore Indonesia's place among Asia's big manufacturing economies, a status it lost in the mid-1990s. Picture taken September 17, 2013 (Reuters/Beawiharta). A worker holds part of a pair of trousers at PT Trisula Garmindo Manufacturing in Bandung, West Java province September 17, 2013. In PT Trisula International's hangar-sized factory outside the western Indonesian city of Bandung, hundreds of workers stitch together clothes for some of the world's top brands. Amid the clatter and hum of their machines are hopes for a renaissance that can restore Indonesia's place among Asia's big manufacturing economies, a status it lost in the mid-1990s. Picture taken September 17, 2013 (Reuters/Beawiharta).

Global trade and the supply chains that support it are undergoing a period of profound change. Supply chains face threats including a resurgence of protectionism, climate change, decaying infrastructure, and human rights abuses. The Development Channel’s series on global supply chains highlights experts’ analysis on emerging trends and challenges. This post is from Drusilla Brown, associate professor of economics at Tufts University and director of Tufts International Relations Program. 

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SDG 16 and the Corruption Measurement Challenge

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, November 29, 2016
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the Annual Conference of Swiss Developement Cooperation in Zurich, Switzerland January 22, 2016. On the screen behind are displayed the 17 goals of UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann). United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the Annual Conference of Swiss Developement Cooperation in Zurich, Switzerland January 22, 2016. On the screen behind are displayed the 17 goals of UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann).

Emerging Voices highlights new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges from contributing scholars and practitioners. This post is from Niklas Kossow, communications officer for the European Union FP7 ANTICORRP project and the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building.  In this post, he considers the challenge of designing evidence-based reforms and measuring success in global development, and describes a new approach to objective measurement in the field of anticorruption and good governance: the Index of Public Integrity.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Duterte Targets Critic, China’s Trade Ambitions, FCPA Uncertainty

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, November 18, 2016
A police officer from the SWAT team stands guard during an anti-drugs operation in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila in the Philippines, November 12, 2016 (Reuters/Erik De Castro). A police officer from the SWAT team stands guard during an anti-drugs operation in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila in the Philippines, November 12, 2016 (Reuters/Erik De Castro).

Philippines’ Duterte Tries to Take Down Critic
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte brooks no dissent. His latest backlash is against one of his most outspoken critics, Senator Leila de Lima. After she opened an inquiry into Duterte’s role in killings while he was a mayor, and urged the international community to investigate the over 1,500 alleged extrajudicial killings during his first four months in office, the president’s Senate allies ejected her as chair of the Justice Committee. The government is now accusing her of drug trafficking, bribery, and graft. If the case moves forward, De Lima could face up to thirty years in prison—effectively silencing Duterte’s opposition.

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Unfinished Business: Improving Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, November 17, 2016
Migrant workers categorize crayons at a toy factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province March 9, 2010. South China's export stronghold Guangdong is experiencing labour shortages that could result in higher wages, but they are not as severe as reported by the media, provincial Communist Party boss Wang Yang said (Reuters/Joe Tan). Migrant workers categorize crayons at a toy factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province March 9, 2010. South China's export stronghold Guangdong is experiencing labour shortages that could result in higher wages, but they are not as severe as reported by the media, provincial Communist Party boss Wang Yang said (Reuters/Joe Tan).

Global trade and the supply chains that support it are undergoing a period of profound change. Supply chains face threats including a resurgence of protectionism, climate change, decaying infrastructure, and human rights abuses. The Development Channel’s series on global supply chains will highlight experts’ analysis on emerging trends and challenges. This post is from Beth Keck, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and practitioner in residence at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She was formerly senior director of women’s economic empowerment at Walmart Stores, Inc. 

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: New French Anticorruption Law, More Panama Papers Fallout, India’s Big Currency Ban

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, November 11, 2016
A man displays a new 2000 Indian rupee banknote after withdrawing from a bank (Reuters/Mukesh Gupta). A man displays a new 2000 Indian rupee banknote after withdrawing from a bank (Reuters/Mukesh Gupta).

France’s Anticorruption Reforms
After years of criticism for failing to prosecute foreign bribery, France adopted a new anticorruption law that will force companies doing business on its soil to take more aggressive preventative measures, and also gives the government stronger tools to fight corruption. The Sapin II law—named for French Finance Minister Michel Sapin—makes compliance programs mandatory for companies with over 500 employees and €100 million in revenue, and creates a new anticorruption agency that can impose fines up to €200,000 for individuals and €1 million for companies that fail to comply. Sapin II also expands whistleblower protections (though some say they do not go far enough), and introduces deferred prosecution agreements similar to those used by the U.S. Department of Justice—allowing prosecutors to fine companies for wrongdoing without a criminal conviction. These changes should help France make good on its OECD Anti-Bribery Convention commitments. Until now, only U.S. courts—not France’s—have sanctioned French multinationals for bribery abroad.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Zuma’s Corruption Woes, DRC Sanctions, Afrobarometer Report

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, November 4, 2016
DATE IMPORTED:November 02, 2016Protestors call for the removal of President Jacob Zuma outside court in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2, 2016 (Reuters/Mike Hutchings). DATE IMPORTED:November 02, 2016Protestors call for the removal of President Jacob Zuma outside court in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2, 2016 (Reuters/Mike Hutchings).

Report May Bring Down South Africa’s President
New allegations may finally bring down teflon president Jacob Zuma. Despite his earlier legal protests, South Africa’s public protector’s office released a report suggesting that a wealthy family close to the president influenced government hires and used their ties to promote their private interests. It recommends opening a criminal investigation, a prelude to impeachment proceedings. While the African National Congress (ANC) party backed Zuma during a previous impeachment vote over the use of $16 million in state funds to renovate his private home, these new allegations are hurting him within his party. Already Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament next week, and some ANC members are joining religious leaders, thousands of protestors, and forty South African CEOs in calling for his resignation.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Embraer Corruption Case, UK Anti-Slavery Law Neglected, Rule of Law Index

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, October 28, 2016
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer's CEO Frederico Curado (R) salutes workers next to an new Embraer E190-E2 during its unveil in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, February 25, 2016. Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is in early talks with Iran, with a focus on commercial aviation, following the end of international sanctions, Chief Executive Curado told journalists on Thursday (Reuters/Nacho Doce). Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer's CEO Frederico Curado (R) salutes workers next to an new Embraer E190-E2 during its unveil in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, February 25, 2016. Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is in early talks with Iran, with a focus on commercial aviation, following the end of international sanctions, Chief Executive Curado told journalists on Thursday (Reuters/Nacho Doce).

Brazil’s Plane Maker Fined in Bribery Case Spanning Five Continents
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer will pay $205 million to U.S. authorities, including $20 million for Brazil, for bribing officials in Saudi Arabia, Mozambique, and the Dominican Republic. U.S. prosecutors worked with their law enforcement counterparts around the world—including Brazil, Switzerland, Uruguay, France, and Spain—to bring the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case (Embraer is a U.S.-listed company). The legal cooperation has gone both ways, as U.S.-gathered evidence has spurred additional investigations by Brazilian and Saudi authorities; thirteen employees were charged with bribery. Now India is looking into kickbacks from Embraer’s air force contracts. Expect more cross-border cooperation in global corruption cases.

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