The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was established to provide large-scale grant funding to poor, well-governed countries to support their efforts to reduce poverty and generate economic growth. However, the statutory definition of which countries are “poor” for the purposes of MCC candidacy is inadequate. Based solely on GNI per capita with a rigid graduation threshold, it does not portray a clear picture of broad-based well-being in a country. Using a new, comprehensive country-level dataset of median consumption/income, the authors explore the merits and limitations of such a measure and suggest how it might be applied as an additional determinant of MCC candidacy.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the US government's development finance institution. Balancing risks, financial needs, and development benefits is riven with numerous tensions, statutory restrictions, and tradeoffs. This raises an important policy question - how well does OPIC’s actual portfolio balance these competing goals? Since much data about the OPIC portfolio is unavailable in an accessible format, we built the OPIC Scraped Portfolio database to address this question.
The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been raging for twenty years and there is still more heat than light around the topic. While some developing countries have embraced the technology, much of Africa has followed the European Union’s precautionary approach. While not a panacea, GMOs could be part of a new green revolution in Africa if governments address the policy and institutional weaknesses that prevented Africa from participating in the first one, and if GM technology continues to develop.
There is no question that the “mega-regional” trade deals in the Pacific and across the Atlantic are big. If completed and implemented, they will cover a large portion of global trade and investment. This paper examines the TPP text to identify provisions that are more or less development-friendly, especially for Vietnam, which is the poorest signatory to the deal by far. It concludes with with recommendations for US and EU policymakers that would mitigate potential negative effects for developing countries and for the multilateral trading system, including rules of origin that minimize trade diversion.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if completed and implemented, will cover a large portion of global trade and investment, but they will exclude the majority of developing countries.
Corruption is an obstacle to social and economic progress in developing countries yet we still know very little about the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts and their impact on development impact. This essay looks at 25 years of efforts by foreign aid agencies to combat corruption and proposes a new strategy which could leverage existing approaches by directly incorporating information on development results.
This paper seeks to determine the degree to which a gender lens has been incorporated into World Bank projects and the success of individual projects according to gender equality-related indicators.
Balancing Financial Integrity with Financial Inclusion: The Risk-Based Approach to “Know Your Customer”
Recognizing the importance of financial inclusion as a policy objective, regulators have endorsed the use of a risk-based approach (RBA) towards know-your-customer (KYC) requirements aimed at strengthening financial integrity. This paper considers applications of the RBA in domestic banking, mobile money and international financial transactions against the features of a rigorous RBA where both the rigor and level of due diligence and the structure and balance of incentives should be proportional to the balance of risks, including that of exclusion. Recommendations include greater attention to national identification systems and to encourage the use of digital technology to shift from cash-cash wire transfers to more transparent account-account transactions between identified holders.
Alternatives to HIPC for African Debt-Distressed Countries: Lessons from Myanmar, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe
Despite the success of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in reducing the debt burdens of low-income countries, at least eleven Sub-Saharan African countries are currently in, or face a high risk of, debt distress. A few of those currently at risk include countries that have been excluded from traditional debt relief frameworks. For countries outside the HIPC process, this paper lays out the (formidable) steps for retroactive HIPC inclusion, concluding with lessons for countries seeking exceptional debt relief treatment.
How the Green Climate Fund Could Promote REDD+ through a Cash on Delivery Instrument: Issues and Options
Climate change will have profound effects on development, poverty, health, and well-being in coming years. Rejuvenated by the recent Paris agreements, efforts to channel the international funding commitments need channels for cost-effective mitigation.
The Role of Industrial Policy as a Development Tool: New Evidence from the Globalization of Trade-and-Investment
Emerging market countries that manage to diversify and upgrade their production and export base grow more rapidly and enjoy greater welfare gains than those that do not. Foreign direct investment in manufacturing is concentrated in middle- and upper-skilled activities -- not lowest-skilled operations -- and thus offers many opportunities for structural transformation of the host economy. But the challenge of using FDI to diversify and upgrade the local production and export base is fraught with market failures and tricky obstacles. Contemporary debates about industrial policy as a development tool focus on how best to overcome these market failures and other difficulties.
Drawing from existing domestic experiences and the first results of the international debate, this paper tries to identify some high-level recommendations on how the payments system should be regulated to best achieve the particular goal of inclusion.
International debates on taxation and development have been informed by a popular narrative that there is a large ‘pot of gold’ for funding which could be released by cracking down on the questionable tax practices of multinational enterprises, and which could bridge the gap towards f
Mental illnesses are among the top causes of disability and disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Yet despite the enormous burden that mental ill-health imposes, mental health care remains a truly neglected area of global health policy.
The SkyShares model enables policy-makers to explore a range of different emissions policy scenarios. This paper uses the SkyShares model to explore one such scenario in detail.
Finding Cash for Infrastructure in Addis: Blending, Lending and Guarantees in Finance for Development
The total scale of incremental investment requirements in infrastructure in developing countries has been estimated at around USD 1 trillion a year, with a range of related studies suggesting numbers between $815 billion to $1.3 trillion. While all such numbers are open to considerable debate, and were not designed to measure the cost of delivering the specific SDG infrastructure targets, they suggest the likely scale of the financing challenge for an SDG agenda which includes universal coverage to adequate housing, water, sanitation, modern energy and communications technologies.
Indonesia’s rate of birth registration is imprecisely measured but is low, especially among the poorer, rural, population. At the same time, the country has developed a system of population registration with wide, if not universal, coverage. In addition, under current regulations that link legal recognition of paternity to the existence of a legal marriage, many children can only receive a birth certificate with the name of the mother. Such a credential is widely seen as less than desirable, creating a situation where children are discriminated against on the basis of the marital status of their parents.