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Showing posts for "Foreign Aid"

Gender Equality and Smart U.S. Foreign Assistance

by Rachel Vogelstein
Women carry bricks on their back as they work at a brick factory in Bhaktapur, Nepal. (Courtesy Ahmad Masood/Reuters) Women carry bricks on their back as they work at a brick factory in Bhaktapur, Nepal, May 2015. (Courtesy Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

It has become axiomatic in international development that increasing economic opportunities for women contributes to economic growth. Organizations from the World Bank to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have concluded that women’s participation in the economy is linked to poverty reduction and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Today, the question is not whether women’s economic participation matters—rather, it is how to promote this goal most effectively.

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Expanding Private Sector Engagement in Developing Countries

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
A construction worker takes measurements of roofing metal bars of a new hospital under construction in Hoima town, Uganda April 27, 2015 (Courtesy Reuters/James Akena). A construction worker takes measurements of roofing metal bars of a new hospital under construction in Hoima town, Uganda April 27, 2015 (Courtesy Reuters/James Akena).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners, highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Elizabeth Littlefield, president and chief executive officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. governments development finance institution.

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India as Regional Power: Promoting Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) speaks as Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani watches during the opening session of 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 26, 2014 (Courtesy Narendra Shrestha/Pool/Reuters). India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) speaks as Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani watches during the opening session of 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 26, 2014 (Courtesy Narendra Shrestha/Pool/Reuters).

Last month’s decision by President Obama to extend the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is an important step in securing the substantial American investment there. This extension—which is and should be temporary—is crucial to allow the Afghan government and security forces to build their capacity to maintain stability on the ground.

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Mr. Ghani Goes to Washington

by Catherine Powell
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama after their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, DC, March 24, 2015 (Courtesy Jonathan Ernst/Reuters). Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama after their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, DC, March 24, 2015 (Courtesy Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

This week, during the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s White House visit, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he will delay the schedule for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and current troop levels will be maintained through the end of 2015. While I have reservations about the use of U.S. military power abroad more generally, a brief extension of the American military presence in Afghanistan makes sense to secure the substantial U.S. investment there.

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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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Stand by Her: Afghan Men as Advocates for Women

by Guest Blogger for Catherine Powell
Afghan children play on the outskirts of Jalalabad province, May 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/ Parwiz). Afghan children play on the outskirts of Jalalabad province, May 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/ Parwiz).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Kristen Cordell, gender advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at USAID.  

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Viewing the U.S.–Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement Through a Gender Lens

by Catherine Powell
Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham sign the bilateral security agreement in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail). Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham sign the bilateral security agreement in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail).

After almost a year of stalemate, Afghanistan finally signed a renewed bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States last Tuesday. The document, which allows 9,800 U.S. troops and 2,000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan in a training and advisory capacity after the end of 2014, was approved by newly-minted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Read more »

How to Make Fuel Subsidy Reform Succeed

by Isobel Coleman
Anti-government protesters march during a demonstration to denounce fuel prices hikes in Sanaa, Yemen, August 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khaled Abdullah). Anti-government protesters march during a demonstration to denounce fuel prices hikes in Sanaa, Yemen, August 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khaled Abdullah).

A few weeks ago, Yemen’s government took the bold – some might say foolhardy – step of winding down a fuel subsidy program that was costing it billions of dollars. Overnight, fuel prices in the country nearly doubled, sparking violent riots. For average Yemenis, the sudden end of one of the few tangible benefits they get from their government is bitter indeed, especially since 54.5 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. It’s no surprise that thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. But the change in policy didn’t have to occur this way.

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The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell and Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer). Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer).

This post is by Catherine Powell, fellow for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program; and Amelia Wolf, research associate for CFR’s Center for Preventive Action and International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

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Helping the Oppressed, not the Oppressors

by Isobel Coleman
A Uighur worker pulls a cart past a statue of the late chairman Mao Zedong at the People's Square in Kashgar, China, September 2003 (Courtesy Reuters). A Uighur worker pulls a cart past a statue of the late chairman Mao Zedong at the People's Square in Kashgar, China, September 2003 (Courtesy Reuters).

As protestors from Kiev to Khartoum to Caracas take to the streets against autocracy, a new book from economist William Easterly reminds us that Western aid is too often on the wrong side of the battle for freedom and democracy.  In The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the PoorEasterly slams the development community for supporting autocrats, not democrats, in the name of helping the world’s poorest. Ignoring human rights abuses and giving aid to oppressive regimes, he maintains, harms those in need and in many ways “un-develops” countries.

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