Today the Center for Global Development released its latest Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 22 of the world’s richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit the developing world. The index is unique in that it measures national efforts in seven key policy areas: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology.
For 2009 CDI, none of the most industrialized countries in the world — commonly referred to as the G7 — ranked in the top ten. Canada, ranked 11th, was the highest among the G7 countries, with France, Germany and the United Kingdom all tied for 12th. The United States ranked 17th on the index, just beating out Italy (18th) and Japan (21st). Collectively, the G7 countries did best in the investment and trade and worst in the aid and migration policy areas.
Center for Global Development President Nancy Birdsall commented, “The CDI ranks wealthy nations on whether they are living up to their potential, given their own resources, to help through trade, investment, foreign aid and other linkages… But it is the United States, Germany, France, Japan and the other economies that have the multiple linkages and potential in absolute terms to make a difference for poor countries. Their failure to use it to the fullest is a blow to the cause of truly shared global prosperity.”
Below is a summary of the U.S. performance in the index:
United States: U.S. barriers against developing countries’ agricultural exports are lower than those of most CDI countries, and the United States provides the most protection of sea lanes important for international trade. But the United States finishes near the bottom of the rankings in both the foreign aid and environment components. U.S. foreign aid is small as a share of its income and it ties a large share of this aid to the purchase of U.S. goods and services. The United States also has the lowest gasoline taxes and among the highest greenhouse gas emission rates per person. It is the only CDI country that has not signed the Kyoto Protocol.
The entire CDI report can be found at http://www.cgdev.org/cdi
CDI is a valuable study that underscores the need for reform of foreign assistance policies and programs among the richest nations, but particularly in the United States. The U.S. should look to this study and its ranking as a sign that the processes underway including the PSD, the QDDR, and legislation in the House and Senate are necessary and timely. And to be sure that foreign assistance reform strengthens development so the U.S. can restore its leadership in the fight against global poverty and disease.