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US ranks near bottom on commitment to development 

Washington, September 18

The US ranks near the bottom of an index which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in the poorer nations.

The poor performance by the US in the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) was driven by low scores on foreign aid, finance, and environmental policies, according to the annual report released on Tuesday by Washington-based Centre for Global Development (CGD).

The CDI, published annually by the CGD, ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations. 

Sweden tops this year’s CDI, followed by Denmark. Germany climbs to the podium and shares third place with Finland, said the annual report released by the CGD.

The US remained in the 23rd spot out of 27 rich countries in the survey, the report said.

“Good development policy is about much more than foreign aid,” said Masood Ahmed, the president of CGD.

“While aid is important, US policymakers need to assess all the ways their choices, from refugee policies to tariffs, help or hinder developing countries,” he said.

The US scored well on security and trade, although new tariffs could drag down the US’s ranking in the future. European countries, meanwhile, took the top 12 spots in this year’s ranking.

“It’s clear that European countries are taking the lead on global development, while the US takes a big step back,” said Anita Kappeli, a researcher at the Centre for Global Development and an author of the study.

“New tariffs and the US’s impending exit from the Paris climate pact are only going to exacerbate this trend,” she added.

Only Poland, Greece, South Korea and Japan were rated lower than the US.

According to the report, while the US is the largest aid donor in absolute value, in 2017 it provided just 0.18 per cent of its GNI–gross national income–for development assistance, far below the international commitment of 0.7 per cent GNI and below average for the CDI countries. It also performs poorly on technology.

In 2016, the government provided 0.58 per cent of GDP for research and development (R&D) (weighted), below average for CDI countries. The US could improve its score by shifting the R&D from defence to more development-friendly areas, it said. 

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