The Center for Global Development (CGD) works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for us all. CGD is the only think tank based in Washington, DC and London, UK that maintains a singular focus on global economic development, and is the leading US think tank on development policy. CGD Europe was established in 2011 to expand CGD’s innovative research, ideas, and outreach to the European development and policymaking community, with a main post in London and a satellite office in Brussels, Belgium for greater outreach opportunities with core European decisionmakers and institutions.
About This Cause
The Center for Global Development (CGD) works to reduce global poverty and improve lives through innovative economic research that drives better policy and practice by the world's top decision makers.
CGD conducts research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to how policies and actions of the rich and powerful affect poor people in the developing world. Examples include migration, aid effectiveness, health, education, globalization, climate change, and trade. Drawing on our research, we actively engage with thought leaders, policymakers, and others to move our ideas to action.
Our work is organized into eight main program areas: Global Health Policy; Global Education; Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Assistance; Technology and Development; Sustainable Development Finance; U.S. Development Policy; and European Development Leadership and Policy. Additional core workstreams include Gender Policy; Financial Inclusion; Poverty, Inequality, and Growth; the China Development Initiative; and the Africa Initiative. Our experts are the leaders of our research, paving the way and making the arguments for pursuing critical development issues across a wide range of topics and shifting debates on the world’s most pressing problems. Much of our work is conducted by working groups of experts, practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders across disciplines who come together to find solutions to difficult policy challenges.
Who We Are
CGD’s senior researchers and other experts are intellectual leaders in their fields, combining academic rigor and practical experience to increase global prosperity. Our visiting and non-resident fellows contribute an added level of knowledge to CGD’s work. Many are simultaneously employed at leading universities, institutions, and NGOs around the world.
CGD benefits from the support and guidance of an influential Board of Directors composed of prominent individuals from the public and private sectors with a passionate commitment to development. CGD works with others through contractual and informal partnerships with a wide range of organizations who share complementary goals.
Where We Came From
Since its founding in 2001, CGD has earned a reputation as a "think-and-do" tank, where independent research is channeled into practical policy proposals that help to inform decisions in Washington, other rich-country capitals, and the international financial institutions.
We have put on the global agenda—and sometimes helped to drive to implementation—proposals to accelerate vaccine development; to permit migration as a tool in disaster recovery; to write down $36 billion in Nigerian debt; to make the World Bank more effective, accountable, and legitimate; to modernize US development finance with the new USDFC; and to create a new international institution for independent evaluation of poverty-reduction efforts.
CGD was founded in November 2001 by Edward Scott Jr., C. Fred Bergsten, and Nancy Birdsall. CGD’s three founders perceived a growing need for independent research to generate practical, creative solutions to the challenges that global interdependence poses to the developing countries. A technology entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former senior US government official, Ed Scott provided the vision and a significant financial commitment that made the creation of the Center possible. Fred Bergsten, director emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, lent his formidable reputation in academic and policy circles and provided the fledgling Center with a roof and logistical support within the Peterson Institute for the Center’s initial months of operation. Nancy Birdsall, a former head of the World Bank research department and executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, became CGD’s first president. Her intellectual leadership and rare combination of being both hard-headed and soft-hearted about development attracted a cadre of researchers and other professionals who are deeply dedicated to CGD’s mission. Masood Ahmed, former director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at IMF, and with previous positions including director general, Policy and International at the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) and as Vice President of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at the World Bank, became CGD’s second president in 2017.