Despite the growing prominence of global challenges, such as climate change, cross-border health threats, security risks, and financial crises, most development-oriented funds are spent on individual programs in single countries.
The truth is: we don’t know much about illicit finance. We don’t have exact figures on the volume of transactions which could fall within this category, and we also don’t know whether these transactions have any significant impact in developing countries and elsewhere. Adding up estimates of different types of illicit flows provides lurid headline figures (one trillion dollars a year) but more specific analysis is needed to determine whether, and how much, better policies might improve development.
I’ve been sitting in lots of meetings and covering paper with lots of ink recently about the Sustainable Development Goals and Financing for Development. And when the topic of aid comes up I nod sagaciously along with others in the room when someone says “well, of course, there won’t be any more aid coming out of the Addis financing conference, it is all about redistributing the pot.” Sometimes I’m the one to write or say it, then have a brief chat about that redistribution before switching to other topics like private finance or trade.
Good news from the Asian Development Bank's annual meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan this past weekend, where shareholders approved a plan to almost double the amount of financing available to developing countries. Bank president Takehiko Nakao's proposal to merge the ADB's concessional and non-concessional lending was nearly two years in the making. His persistence - and that of his team - shows that creative thinking and a bold approach to engaging with shareholders can yield big gains for development.
This week, Chad became the 36th poor country to benefit from the world’s collective response to the debt crises of the 1980s and 1990s. It took years to reach this point, but in the end, Chad received over one billion dollars in irrevocable debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative.
In my blog on taxes in the Addis Financing for Development draft, I argued that any language on revenue levels should be matched with ambitious language on spending the money well. But it is technically hard to set meaningful targets on the efficiency of government spending.
Tax day looms large for many Americans – April 15 was the last date for paying your tax bill, and the day on which the top one percent of Americans, who get 21.0 percent of total income, pay 21.6 percent of total state and federal taxes. So much for a progressive tax system.
In testimony last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, CGD’s Ben Leo called upon Congress to modernize how the United States supports economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The hearing was called to reflect on the progress since the August 2014 US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington and to address obstacles that continue to discourage greater private-sector engagement in the region.