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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Climate Finance, Aid, Anti-Corruption Tech, and the ICC

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Leaders of the AU stand during the opening of the 25th African Union summit in Johannesburg June 14, 2015. A South African court issued an interim order on Sunday preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leaving the country, where he was attending an African Union summit, until the judge hears an application calling for his arrest. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters) Leaders of the AU stand during the opening of the 25th African Union summit in Johannesburg June 14, 2015. A South African court issued an interim order on Sunday preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leaving the country, where he was attending an African Union summit, until the judge hears an application calling for his arrest. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

This is the fourth post of a new series on the Development Channel, “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” Each Friday, CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program, will highlight the week’s noteworthy events and articles.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Corruption in China, Mediterranean Migrant Crisis, Child Labor, and Turkish Elections

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A group of 300 sub-Saharan Africans on board a boat are seen next to an Italian marine ship (top) during a rescue operation by the Italian Finance Police vessel Di Bartolo (not pictured) off the coast of Sicily, May 14, 2015. Around 1100 migrants were rescued off the coast of Sicily, about 130 miles from Lampedusa, according to the police. (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters) A group of 300 sub-Saharan Africans on board a boat are seen next to an Italian marine ship (top) during a rescue operation by the Italian Finance Police vessel Di Bartolo (not pictured) off the coast of Sicily, May 14, 2015. Around 1100 migrants were rescued off the coast of Sicily, about 130 miles from Lampedusa, according to the police. (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

This is the third post of a new series on the Development Channel, “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” Each Friday, CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program, will highlight the week’s noteworthy events and articles.

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Abenomics Is Womenomics

by Rachel Vogelstein
Japanese college graduates attend a pep rally in Tokyo designed to boost their morale as they break into the job market, February 2015 (Thomas Peter/Reuters). Japanese college graduates attend a pep rally in Tokyo designed to boost their morale as they break into the job market, February 2015 (Thomas Peter/Reuters).

On his visit to the United States last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke about his plan for economic growth, known colloquially as “Abenomics.” His plan comes at a crucial time: Japan’s economic prospects are far from favorable, especially when coupled with the country’s projected demographic decline. By 2060, Japan’s total population is expected to shrink by 30 percent, and the elderly population is expected to grow to a whopping 40 percent. At the same time, Japan’s GDP is forecast to grow just 0.8 percent in 2015, as compared to 3.1 percent in the United States.

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Building the Obamas’ Legacy: Expanding the Peace Corps to Advance Girls’ Education

by Catherine Powell
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama gestures during a visit to promote girls' education and the “Let Girls Learn” initiative at Hun Sen Prasaat Bankong high school on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia, March 2015 (Courtesy Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters). U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama gestures during a visit to promote girls' education and the “Let Girls Learn” initiative at Hun Sen Prasaat Bankong high school on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia, March 2015 (Courtesy Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters).

“When girls get educated—when they learn to read and write and think—that gives them the tools to speak up and to talk about injustice, and to demand equal treatment. It helps them participate in the political life of their country and hold their leaders accountable, call for change when their needs and aspirations aren’t being met.” These were the words of First Lady Michelle Obama as she addressed Peace Corps volunteers in Cambodia last weekend, part of her trip to promote the administration’s Let Girls Learn program.

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Leveraging Tech Innovations in Development

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Flood victims show their ID cards to receive food rations at a distribution centre in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 25, 2010 (Courtesy Reuters/Reinhard Krause). Flood victims show their ID cards to receive food rations at a distribution centre in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 25, 2010 (Courtesy Reuters/Reinhard Krause).

Over the past decade, technology has begun to revolutionize industries ranging from education and healthcare to financial services and commerce. These transformations are not limited to the developed world – in emerging economies rapid mobile technology proliferation and internet penetration have had profound and unforeseen effects, including expanding financial inclusion through mobile banking services and facilitating employment through online and mobile job platforms.

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The Role of Government in Agriculture

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
A farmer harvests tobacco in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo). A farmer harvests tobacco in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Evan Axelrad, a recent graduate of the Master of Public Policy program at University of California Berkeley and former program specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service. He has also consulted with organizations including the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Kiva Microfunds.

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Segovia: A New Player in Cash Transfers

by Isobel Coleman
Customers are seen at mobile money transfers kiosks, known as M-Pesa agents, near Ngong township in the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya). Customers are seen at mobile money transfers kiosks, known as M-Pesa agents, near Ngong township in the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya).

For several years now I’ve been following the progress of an innovative new philanthropy: GiveDirectly. Its cofounders, Michael Faye and Paul Niehaus, started the organization in 2008 while doing their PhD’s in economics at Harvard. Their idea was simple. Given mounting evidence that cash transfers are among the most efficient and effective ways to address poverty (and that the poor know very well what to do with money), why not start a charity that skips the rigmarole of providing services to poor people in poor countries and just gives them cash?

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World Bank Report on Women’s Empowerment Breaks New Ground

by Isobel Coleman
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman participate in an event on empowering woman and girls at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst). Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman participate in an event on empowering woman and girls at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst).

Over the past several decades, the World Bank has been an important thought leader on the value of investing in women and girls. In 2001, the Bank released a seminal report, “Engendering Development – Through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources, and Voice,” which made the incontrovertible case that investing in girls’ education and other aspects of female empowerment is critical for poverty alleviation. More recently, in 2012, the Bank devoted its annual World Development Report to women and girls, highlighting that, despite gains, gender gaps persist and greater gender equality is critical to growth.

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The Potential of Clean Cookstoves

by Isobel Coleman
A woman cooks inside her home in San Juan, Honduras, August 2008 (Courtesy Reuters/Edgard Garrido). A woman cooks inside her home in San Juan, Honduras, August 2008 (Courtesy Reuters/Edgard Garrido).

For decades, global health experts have recognized that smoke from indoor cooking is a major contributor to premature death.  Yet, in poor countries around the world, some 3 billion people still rely on wood, coal, or animal dung to cook their food over indoor fires. The impact of the resulting indoor air pollution is devastating, particularly for the women and girls who are largely responsible for cooking and bear the brunt of the smoke. A new study calculates that the toll from indoor air pollution is even larger than previously thought: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that exposure to smoke from traditional cooking was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 – more than was attributable to HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and double the number estimated just five years ago.

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The Implications of China’s Economic Slowdown

by Terra Lawson-Remer
An investor in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, May 9, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jon Woo). An investor in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, May 9, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jon Woo).

News of a credit crunch and broader economic slowdown in China once again raises the question of how that country’s evolving economy might affect its political trajectory. Read more »