The Washington Post

Which wealthy governments are helping poor countries most? How helpful is the U.S.?

The Center for Global Development (CGD) just released its 2011 Commitment to Development Index, which evaluates how 22 wealthy governments help poor countries on seven factors--aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology.

Overall, the U.S. ranks fifth behind Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands--an improvement from seventh last year and 17th two years ago. What’s telling is that the U.S. is near the bottom of the 22 countries when it comes to aid and the environment, but where it makes up points is in trade and, not surprisingly, security. Everything else--investment, migration and technology--it fits firmly in the middle.

One surprising finding: For all of the attention the U.S. has poured into the Middle East over the last decade, it ranks a lowly 17th according to the index.

So where is the U.S. most helpful? It ranks number one for helping two regions: South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean--and by a lot.

CGD offers background and technical papers to answer nearly every question one might have about its findings.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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