3 Responses to Center for Global Development and the US Debt Deal: You were asking for it…

  1. This post is an unfortunate and uninformed distortion of me and my organization.

    I am not “anti-aid” and I am not an advocate; I do research about facts. For example, in a paper of mine forthcoming in Britain’s leading peer-reviewed economics research journal, I show that foreign aid has systematically caused positive economic growth, on average, in the countries that receive it. This paper is by far my most-cited piece of research, but since it does not fit your narrative about my biases, you choose to ignore it. It will be published soon in the Economic Journal, and has been available for the past seven years here:


    Furthermore, my paper about the 0.7% aid goal documents beyond question what it claims: that up to the point it was written, no government had publicly committed to actually reaching that aid level, and that the 0.7% figure emerged from a quantitative analysis that no serious economist would support today. I read and quote all of the original sources to document these facts. I can tell that these facts make you uncomfortable and upset, but that does not change them. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d like to see it. But rather than address the substance of the paper, you choose instead to simply make obvious your disdain for its conclusions and for me. That is not a route to fruitful discussion.

    More readings for you: I reviewed Dambisa Moyo’s decidedly “anti-aid” book for Finance and Development magazine. What better place would there have been to air my “anti-aid” views? You’ll find that my analysis is much less biased that you think, if you take the time to read it:


    Finally, portraying the Center for Global Development as systematically “anti-aid” is one of the more ludicrous claims I’ve heard about any organization in Washington, and that’s saying a lot. That fact alone suggests that you don’t spend much time in Washington. CGD staff wrote much of the founding legislation of the Millennium Challenge Corportion, one of the most important new aid organizations in recent decades. CGD created and incubated the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, pioneered Advance Market Commitments to create new and lifesaving vaccines for LDC diseases, created and promoted Cash on Delivery Aid, and was intimately involved in debt relief and aid packages for Liberia, Nigeria, and several other countries. These are just a handful examples, with which I could fill an entire post. It’s sad and baffling that you choose to misrepresent an organization doing so much to better and advance the cause of leveraging assistance for poverty reduction, and choose to simply recur to uninformed name-calling. After you acquire more knowledge, I hope you consider writing a retraction.

  2. Mr Clemens,

    It is nice to receive a reply; usually organisations and people of your experience brush blogs and simple opinions by. But let me respond in turn:

    I have read the “Ghost of 0.7%” article many times. I have economic training and I do understand most, if not all the data. Perhaps I am not a well versed econometrics student as you and most CGD people are. I never fully endorsed the “0.7” chase–see previous articles, https://ipeanddevelopment.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/re-post-from-gpm-reaching-0-7-aid-effectiveness-must-not-be-ignored/ and https://ipeanddevelopment.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/0-7-0-07-7-the-lure-and-wonder-over-how-much-aid-countries-should-give/ and others. What i am saying is by being so against norms of keeping the momentum of aid–which is what the 0.7 and the MDGs are, CGD has drumming the same beat which many Congressmen are harping on: aid figures are nothing. “If CGD says 0.7% is not the way, then why not reduce it to 0.07%?”

    I’m gald you are critical of Dambisa Moyo unlike William Easterly, who is critical of her but not critical as much as to criticise the ONE organisation for ignoring her.

    Saying that I do not spend enough time in Washington is belittling me–Washington is the home of the “Washington Consensus” which I feel that some of your organisation colleagues still endorse. If i hve not spent much time in Washington, have you spent much time in all developing countries?

    On the MCC, perhaps I can provide you with readings for you great benefit too:

    Carbone, M., 2004, “The Millennium Challenge Account: A Marginal Revolution in US Foreign Aid Policy”, Review of African Political Economy, 31(101), pp.536-542

    Mawdsley, E., 2007, “The Millennium Challenge Account: Neo-liberalism-poverty and security” Review of International Political Economy, 14(3), pp.487-509

    Soederberg, S., 2004, “American empire and ‘excluded’ states: the Millennium Challenge Account and the shift to pre-emptive development”, Third World Quarterly, 25(2), 279-302

    These and more show that the MCC reinforces the neoliberal paradigm in developing countries and serves to hamper not promote development. Is this what you desire?

    On “Cash on Delivery”, it is a innovate concept but I worked last summer on a project that reviewed its mechanisms. The details are not published but I’m sure I have”more knowledge” about aid effectiveness too as you do.

    Finally, let me state that I have “more knowledge” than you perceive. I also have followed and used some of CGD’s articles in the course of my work. Which one’s I do not have to say. Let me also state that I closely follow and agree with the Overseas Development Institute in London, UK (not America’s London) which also works on many areas of development. I have my disagreements them too.

    I don’t see the need to write a retraction. I am not arrogant and the post is not an academic article or part of any debate. It is writen as a blog post as countless of real anti-aid post area: perhaps you may also want to take those on. If I do write one, you will pick it up, but I’m afraid if may turn out to be a Easterly-Chang style debate that the NYRB allowed.

    Thank You (I’m not sure If you forgot to state that).

  3. add on:

    Chhotray, V. and Hulme, 2009, “Contrasting Visions of Aid and Governance in the 21st Century: The White House Millennium Challenge Account and DFID’s Drivers of Change”, World Development, 37(1), pp.36-49 which arges that the MCA/MCC’s approach towards governance is universalistic, no different from the Washington Consensus and Good Governance agenda.


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