Welcome to the Development Channel, a forum for issues and innovations in global economic development.
In recent years the line between the developed and developing worlds has blurred. China is the United States’ largest foreign creditor and jobless Portuguese are flocking to their country’s former colonies. Indeed, while the United States and Europe have struggled, China, India, Brazil, and other emerging economies have surged. Africa has achieved robust growth and plunging child mortality. Poverty is falling in every developing region, and a middle class is growing in places long associated with deprivation.
Inclusive development, however, remains an urgent priority. Nearly 1.3 billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day, and almost 1.2 billion more live just above this margin. As China and India have grown, inequality in these countries has increased, with many people excluded from the fruits of prosperity. Many relatively rich nations harbor huge pockets of poverty: almost 75 percent of the world’s poorest people actually live in middle-income countries. Burgeoning populations of young people worldwide face scarce jobs and opportunities, while the hoped-for demographic dividend remains elusive. Fragile states in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are trapped in cycles of poverty, conflict, and poor governance. Environmental degradation and climate change threaten the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, but they require global solutions. And longstanding health woes, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, continue to plague the poor, even as noncommunicable diseases become a major threat.
At the same time, the landscape of development is shifting. South-South cooperation is increasingly robust, with emerging countries such as the BRICS bolstering their foreign assistance and investment (the two can be hard to distinguish). By contrast, official development assistance (ODA) from traditional donors fell last year in real terms after largely steady increases since 1997, and this aid is projected to “stagnate” in the coming years. Private capital is ever more central to growth and development. Indeed, ODA constitutes only 18 percent of total financial flows from developed to developing countries, with investment, remittances, and philanthropy making up the rest. Improving governance at the local, national, and international levels is now recognized as a critical ingredient for inclusive development, including efforts to boost community participation and government accountability through greater transparency. The importance of monitoring and evaluation has also come to the fore, with economists debating new and better research methods to measure results.
In the face of these trends, and recognizing the critical importance of better engagement with global development challenges, CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative (CSM&D) has launched the Development Channel to explore big ideas about opportunity and exclusion in the global economy. Since these are pressing issues that concern us all, the goal is to bring the discourse about development into a broader conversation not limited to specialists.
The Development Channel will feature innovations in thinking and practice, with the aim of catalyzing more effective action on the challenges of poverty and inequity. We are interested in new research, new thinkers, new leaders, and new approaches. We will highlight contributions from emerging scholars and practitioners, whether from civil society, academia, business, or the policymaking community. We will examine the big debates about how to do development better. And CFR scholars will offer critical analysis with articles, reports, meeting videos, and more. We look forward to hearing from you along the way.