Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director-General of the Swedish International Development Agency

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, webbredaktör Vetenskapsrådet

Who is she?

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka has served as the Director General of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) since 2011 where she leads efforts to empower impoverished people around the world. Under her leadership, Sida has actively leveraged the role of the private sector in driving development in Africa, a trend that will likely grow in the coming years.

During Sida’s restructuring, Petri Gornitzka has led a ‘cultural change’ that encourages partnerships over unilateral efforts in development assistance. In line with this view, Petri Gornitzka has spearheaded number of new partnerships and projects, including a $15.4 million two-year partnership with the International Labor Organization focusing on poverty reduction and a cooperation agreement with Georgia and others in the region focusing on democracy, human rights, and rule of law. The seven-year, $638 million pact is a part of a larger $1.2 billion package to the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. Continue reading

International Youth Day: Focusing on Mental Health

By Nicole Goldin and Katherine Perry

IYD_2014August 12th is International Youth Day, and offers a time to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing global youth.  This year’s theme, “Youth and Mental Health,” brings the often sidelined issue of mental health to the fore of the global health and youth development conversation. The United Nations recently estimated that a shocking 20 percent of global youth experience mental health challenges. Leaders are taking note.  In Africa for example, recognizing that mental health is a serious issue, and accounts for “a huge burden of disease and disability, and where in general less than 1 percent  of the already small health budgets are spent on these disorders,” medical experts from several countries recently published a Declaration on Mental Health in Africa in an effort to promote access to services.

Facilitating better mental health among youth is a complex challenge, as mental health is rooted in both biology and circumstance. A recent study in the United Kingdom found that the long-term unemployment crisis has had harmful effects on youths’ mental wellbeing. In a survey conducted by the Prince’s Trust, 40 percent of jobless youth “faced symptoms of mental illness…as a direct result of being unemployed.”  At the same time, the social and economic costs of underinvestment in youth mental health services are large; the United States’ National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that “70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system also have mental health disorders.”

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Weekly Round-up

This week in development…

  • This week leaders of nearly 50 African countries convened in Washington for the first-ever US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.  On the discussion table were issues of trade, governance, and security, with particular emphasis on US-Africa business. During the US-Africa Business Forum the United States pledged over $33 billion in new commitments to Africa, $12 billion to Power Africa, and over $14 billion was pledged by the private sector to increase US-Africa business ties.
  • On August 6, at a US-African Leaders Summit symposium entitled “Investing in Our Future,” Michelle Obama held a special event with former first lady Laura Bush and the first ladies of two dozen African countries.  The event highlighted the role of women in health and development on the continent, as well as the need for improved education and leadership among women.

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A Quick Breakdown of the U.S.-Africa Business Summit

By Julia Marvin

The first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit took place in Washington earlier this week bringing more than 40 African Heads of State and representatives from the U.S. public and private sector. The Summit sought to strengthen trade and investment ties with Africa while highlighting U.S. commitments to security, democratic development, and the people of Africa. Despite concerns regarding the extent to which the Summit can bolster trade relations with one of the world’s fastest growing regions, the administration announced several deliverables. However, specifics for the realization of these goals remains unclear amidst questions regarding the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization and fiscal uncertainty in Washington.

Here are some takeaways:

Africa Summit

Photos courtesy of USAID and the State Department’s Flickr photostream used under a creative commons license.

Julia Marvin is a researcher with the Project on Prosperity and Development at CSIS.

Long Road Ahead for the Trade Facilitation Agenda

By Julia Marvin

WTO members met in Geneva on July 31 to implement a historic WTO trade agreement that incorporated special provisions for developing countries, allowing for the staggered implementation of trade standards and tailored technical assistance to meet these standards. Of course, this did not happen as India chose to block the WTO consensus needed to implement the agreement unless its food security issues are addressed.

India’s decision to stall out Bali progress has raised concerns that the WTO will not be able to implement the Bali agreement at all. A coalition of 25 developing and developed countries, including Australia, Thailand, and Canada, has asked India to reconsider but so far India’s position has proven intractable.

Cargo inspection a the Port of Jakarta

Cargo inspection a the Port of Jakarta

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