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Charles Kenny is a senior fellow and the director of technology and development at the Center for Global Development. His current work focuses on gender and development, the role of technology in development, governance and anticorruption and the post-2015 development agenda. He has published articles, chapters and books on issues including what we know about the causes of economic growth, the link between economic growth and broader development, the causes of improvements in global health, the link between economic growth and happiness, the end of the Malthusian trap, the role of communications technologies in development, the ‘digital divide,’ corruption, and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. He is the author of the book "Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding, and How We Can Improve the World Even More" and “The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Great for the West.” He has been a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a regular contributor to Business Week magazine. Kenny was previously at the World Bank, where his assignments included working with the VP for the Middle East and North Africa Region, coordinating work on governance and anticorruption in infrastructure and natural resources, and managing a number of investment and technical assistance projects covering telecommunications and the Internet.
There are more schools worldwide than ever before, but are children really learning? Charles Kenny investigates the broken link between schools and learning and suggests some proven methods for improving outcomes in education.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s arm that provides highly concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest countries. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for these countries – of which, half are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. And, it is the single largest source of donor funding for basic social services in the poorest countries. In FY10, the largest IDA recipients included India, Vietnam, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda.
According to the Center’s Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) assessment, IDA is the only multilateral aid agency that scores in the top ten across all four sub-indices (maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing burden, and transparency and accountability).
The majority of IDA’s funding comes from contributions by roughly 45 donor governments. Every three years, these governments gather to replenish IDA’s coffers. The so-called replenishment negotiations provide an opportunity for shareholders and stakeholders to influence IDA’s institutional and programmatic objectives. The largest pledges to previous replenishment (IDA-15) were made by the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Spain. Additional funds come from the World Bank’s net income and from borrower countries' repayments of earlier IDA loans (i.e., “reflows”).
In mid-December 2010, donor governments will meet in Brussels to conclude the IDA-16 Replenishment agreement. This will be the last full IDA replenishment until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline in 2015. The IDA-16 agreement largely will focus on several key themes, including: fragile states, gender, crises response, and climate change. World Bank management has proposed an overall IDA-16 financial envelope of $47 billion – of which, donor governments would provide roughly $33 billion. This would essentially entail flat donor contributions in real terms compared to the previous IDA-15 replenishment. However, it would mean a roughly 15 percent increase overall due to usage of the World Bank’s internal resources (i.e., IDA credit reflows, IBRD net income transfers, etc).
The Center has produced several proposals and analytical papers dealing with IDA’s operations. These include:
Leveraging World Bank Resources for the Poorest: IDA Blended Financing Facility Proposal. Research Fellow Ben Leo proposes a new World Bank financing model for creditworthy emerging economies, such as India and Vietnam. By doing so, IDA could free up to $7.5 billion worth of additional assistance for the world’s poorest, most vulnerable countries.
How Can Donors Create Incentives for Results and Flexibility for Fragile States? A Proposal for IDA. Senior Fellow Alan Gelb offers a concrete proposal for how IDA can: (i) rebalance incentives to increase attention on delivering results and to the frameworks for monitoring and evaluating them; and (ii) supplement performance-based allocations to fragile states through a performance fund to enable well-performing projects to be scaled up.
Inside the World Bank's Black Box Allocation System: How Well Does IDA Allocate Resources to the Neediest and Most Vulnerable Countries? In this paper, Research Fellow Ben Leo explores just how well IDA’s existing performance-based allocation system addresses the unique needs in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
The World Bank's Work in the Poorest Countries: Five Recommendations for a New IDA. This CGD report argues that donor governments should focus on five key actions: (i) affirming IDA's centrality in the international aid system; (ii) allowing IDA to concentrate on its core competencies; (iii) stop holding IDA hostage to broader geo-political battles; (iv) pushing IDA to find the right incentives for dealing with fragile states; and (v) sharpening the incentives for performance.