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CFR Presents

Development Channel

Issues and innovations in global economic development

How to Make Fuel Subsidy Reform Succeed

by Isobel Coleman Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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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Kerry Returns to Afghanistan; Women’s Rights Remain in Peril

by Catherine Powell Friday, August 8, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks next to Afghan presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Afghanistan, following the signing of a deal to form a national unity government (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks next to Afghan presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Afghanistan, following the signing of a deal to form a national unity government (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani).

This year marks a significant moment for Afghanistan: with the recent presidential election and the U.S. withdrawal of troops, the country will undergo both political and security transitions. However, these twin transitions are currently imperiled.

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Banking with Bitcoin

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman Tuesday, August 5, 2014
A Bitcoin sign is seen in a window in Toronto, Canada, May 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Blinch). A Bitcoin sign is seen in a window in Toronto, Canada, May 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Blinch).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Sarah Martin, CEO of Boone Martin, a global communications firm that focuses on social impact investing.

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Market-Oriented Development  

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman Monday, August 4, 2014
Women carry silage on their backs in the High Atlas, Morocco, August 2006 (Courtesy Reuters/Eve Coulon). Women carry silage on their backs in the High Atlas, Morocco, August 2006 (Courtesy Reuters/Eve Coulon).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Rodney W. Nichols, president and CEO emeritus of the New York Academy of Sciences.

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Prosecuting Sexual Violence Offenders after Conflict

by svonwendel Thursday, July 31, 2014
A Tutsi woman passes between a guerilla from the Rwandan Patriotic Front on the left and a wounded man on the right, Rwanda, May 1994 (Courtesy Reuters). A Tutsi woman passes between a guerilla from the Rwandan Patriotic Front on the left and a wounded man on the right, Rwanda, May 1994 (Courtesy Reuters).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Sigrid von Wendel, who edits the Development Channel.

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Fragile States, Fragile Lives: Child Marriage Amid Disaster and Conflict

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A young Afghan refugee carries her sister in the Jungle Pir Alizai refugee camp, near the Pakistan-Afghan border town of Chaman, June 2007 (Courtesy Reuters/Mian Khursheed). A young Afghan refugee carries her sister in the Jungle Pir Alizai refugee camp, near the Pakistan-Afghan border town of Chaman, June 2007 (Courtesy Reuters/Mian Khursheed).

Drivers of child marriage, such as weakened institutions, lack of economic opportunity, and increased occurrence of sexual violence and assault, are exacerbated during armed conflict and natural disaster. In my latest Council on Foreign Relations publication, “Fragile States, Fragile Lives: Child Marriage Amid Disaster and Conflict,” I explore the relationship between child marriage prevalence rates and fragile states. Existing data and an abundance of qualitative evidence point to a relationship: countries with high rates of child marriage tend to be among the world’s least stable.

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The Role of Government in Agriculture

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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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How Kerry’s Election Deal Can Help Afghan Women

by Catherine Powell Saturday, July 19, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Afghanistan's presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani (C) and Abdullah Abdullah hold their arms in the air together after announcing a deal for the auditing of all Afghan election votes at the United Nations Compund in Kabul, July 12, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jim Bourg). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Afghanistan's presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani (C) and Abdullah Abdullah hold their arms in the air together after announcing a deal for the auditing of all Afghan election votes at the United Nations Compund in Kabul, July 12, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Jim Bourg).

The deal that Secretary of State John Kerry recently brokered to recount votes in Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election demonstrates the United States still has a stake in the future of the war-torn country. Read more »

The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell and Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman Thursday, July 3, 2014
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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Segovia: A New Player in Cash Transfers

by Isobel Coleman Friday, June 20, 2014
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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