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Development economics, globalism and inequality, the aid system, international financial institutions, education, Latin America, climate financing
Nancy Birdsall is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a policy-oriented research institution that opened its doors in Washington, DC in October 2001. Prior to launching the center, Birdsall served for three years as senior associate and director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her work at Carnegie focused on issues of globalization and inequality, as well as on the reform of the international financial institutions.
From 1993 to 1998, Birdsall was executive vice-president of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, she spent 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, most recently as director of the Policy Research Department.
Birdsall has been researching and writing on economic development issues for more than 25 years. Her most recent work focuses on the relationship between income distribution and economic growth and the role of regional public goods in development.
Birdsall is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Food Policy Research Council (IFPRI), of the African Population and Health Research Center, and of Mathematica. She has chaired the board of the International Center for Research on Women and has served on the boards of the Social Science Research Council, Overseas Development Council, and Accion. She has also served on committees and working groups of the National Academy of Sciences.
Birdsall holds a PhD in economics from Yale University and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Putting Education to Work in Egypt, by Nancy Birdsall and Lesley O'Connell. Prepared for Conference, Growth Beyond Stabilization: Prospects for Egypt, sponsored by The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies in collaboration with the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector, University of Maryland; the Harvard Institute for International Development, and the US Agency for International Development, February 3-4, 1999, Cairo, Egypt. March 1999.
"Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America: Deeper Markets and Better Schools Make a Difference," with Jere R. Behrman and Miguel Szekely, in New Markets, New Opportunities? Economic and Social Mobility in a Changing World (1999)
"The U.S. and the Social Challenge in Latin America: The New Agenda Needs New Instruments," with Nora Lustig and Lesley O'Connell, in The Search for Common Ground: U.S. National Interests and the Western Hemisphere in a New Century (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999)
"Deep Integration and Trade Agreements: Good for Developing Countries?" with Robert Z. Lawrence in Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 1999)
"No Tradeoff: Efficient Growth Via More Equal Human Capital Accumulation in Latin America," in Beyond Trade-Offs: Market Reforms and Equitable Growth in Latin America (1998)
"That Silly Inequality Debate," in Foreign Policy, May/June 2002
"Education in Latin America: Demand and Distribution are Factors that Matter," with Juan Luis Londoño and Lesley O'Connell in CEPAL Review 66, December 1998
"Life is Unfair: Inequality in the World," in Foreign Policy, Summer 1998
"Public Spending on Higher Education in Developing Countries: Too Much or Too Little?" in Economics of Education Review, 1996
Foreign aid is often mentioned as the first and easiest thing to cut, particularly in a Republican administration with a Republican Congress. But maybe not. It is likely to look different, but may not be smaller. Consider five points.
First, foreign aid is less partisan than assumed. Some readers may recall when George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill visited Africa with Bono, and in the past year alone, a Republican-led House and Senate passed three foreign aid bills. Moreover, over many decades, US foreign aid spending has been higher when a single party controlled both the White House and Congress, and in that situation higher with the Republican party—as set out here.
Second, a Republican Congress may not want to undo major foreign aid initiatives of the George W Bush Administration meant to save lives—reflecting the values of evangelical and other faith-based traditional Republican party constituencies. The Bush Administration created PEPFAR and was a leading donor in support for the multilateral Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria; both have had sustained bipartisan support from Congress for the last 15 years. Indeed, US spending on aid for health, including the Global Fund and bilateral health programs has far exceeded US contributions to the World Bank’s concessional IDA window for the last 10 years, with over $10 billion (about 20 percent of the total US international affairs budget) being spent on global health in FY 2015.
Third, on how aid may be administered differently, there could be a shift of resources to the provision of aid through partnerships with the private sector. This could mean more attention to OPIC. It would imply at the least that its “authorization” will not be cut, and perhaps it will even rise. (OPIC does not rely on a federal appropriation but on returns to its loans and guarantees to private investors in developing countries; it does need Congress to authorize how much it can lend and guarantee.) Perhaps OPIC will finally be allowed to co-invest with private players as is the case for the British, French, German, Dutch and other state-sponsored development finance corporations. (Co-investing would require that OPIC have skin-in-the-game equity as an instrument, as we at CGD have long advocated). Perhaps in the same spirit, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) will not only survive, but be used as a model for broader aid operations. Its support goes only to relatively poor countries with governments that are business-friendly and have minimum levels of corruption. The MCA is managed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation—a quasi-independent corporation with a bi-partisan board—that signs “compacts” (in effect performance contracts) with recipient governments that are freed from many of the strictures associated with the large US Government USAID bureaucracy.
Fourth, on differences in allocation, a Trump presidency will want to shape foreign aid programs with a view towards domestic interests. All countries do this of course, but maybe it would become a more explicit element of policy. That suggests a greater emphasis on private sector partnerships as above, and, to deal with Americans’ concerns about terrorism, a (further) increase in spending in countries that are security hot spots coping with terrorist movements: Nigeria, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan for example. In fact the use of aid to address security issues is also not new, and has over time driven increases and declines in the aid budget. It was under a Democratic administration that aid declined in the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, and during a Republican administration that aid rose, in the 2000s following 9/11.
Finally, even on climate and other global public goods, which may not seem like an obvious area of support, the case looks stronger because these issues directly affect US national security. Support to better anticipate and fight global pandemics (consider the federal support for the fight against Ebola in West Africa in 2015) or to efforts to head off the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance might survive in some form; these relate as directly to the security and prosperity of the US as to any nation. Climate change might seem an especially hard sell, but the US military has been clear on the risks it poses to US security.
Of course the real issue for development advocates is as much about the “quality” of US foreign aid as about its “quantity”. And other policies matter too – migration, trade, climate and more. The CGD Commitment to Development Index includes aid (quantity and quality) as one of seven rich country policies that matter for developing countries. In the coming years, the CDI will tell the tale: How aid quality and quantity fare in the Trump Administration, and how the US overall fares on its overall commitment to development.
In 2016 on the CGD Podcast, we have discussed some of development's biggest questions: How do we pay for development? How do we measure the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? What should we do about refugees and migrants? And is there life yet in the notion of globalism?
And we have heard from some major international figures, including two former presidents—Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Joyce Banda of Malawi—Jim Kim, Christine Lagarde, Lawrence Summers, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as several major development organization heads, private sector representatives, government officials from around the world, and leading academics and thinkers—including, of course, many of CGD’s own experts.
In early 2017, the CGD podcast will discuss how best to conduct impact evaluations with Rachel Glenerster of J-PAL and our own Bill Savedoff; we will think about how digital technology impacts development with Raj Kumar of Devex; and we will ask if development finance institutions like the US’ OPIC and the UK’s CDC are the best way to pay for development, with their respective heads Elizabeth Littlefield and Diana Noble. Look out also for podcasts about major CGD work, including new ideas to better help refugees in long-running emergencies; the problems of trying to measure corruption; how biometric identification can help achieve several of the SDGs; and how Britain’s trade policy can make the most of Brexit.
I do hope you will stay tuned in 2017—and please share the podcasts and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe here or on iTunes. As ever, I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Thanks to Stephanie Brown, who produces all our podcasts—and to you for listening.
While working to establish the EFA Fast Track Initiative 15 years ago, one of us (Barbara Bruns) remembers asserting that MDG 2—achieving universal primary completion—was implicitly about education quality, and not just access. Countries might be able to achieve universal enrollment without achieving a basic level of quality, but they would not achieve universal completion this way. Why? Because given the opportunity cost of children’s time, as well as some direct costs of schooling such as uniforms, parents would not keep children in school if they were not learning.
Barbara was wrong. Fast forward to 2016, and the evidence is irrefutable—hundreds of millions of children across the developing world sit in school for five or more years but on “completion” cannot read a paragraph. That is a key message of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, chaired by Gordon Brown.
CGD’s background research for the Commission: two priority actions
The Commission report released in September is impressive, starting with its title: A Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World. It starkly depicts a “global learning crisis.” The SDGs, unlike the MDGs, set explicit goals for learning: by 2030 all children in every country should master the skills equivalent of a lower secondary education. But the Education Commission predicts that if current trends continue, only 1 child in 10 in low-income countries will be on track to achieve that goal. And 69 percent of children in these countries will leave school without mastering even primary level skills, leaving them deeply unprepared for empowered, productive lives in a global economy.
The Commission makes 12 sensible recommendations in four big areas: performance, innovation, inclusion, and finance. But the biggest change it calls for is more funding: a near tripling of developing countries’ own education spending (from an estimated $1 trillion to $2.7 trillion per year) and a 400 percent increase in donor support, from $13 billion today to $49 billion per year by 2030.
Is big money really necessary, or even sufficient, to get the ball rolling? CGD’s background research submitted to the Commission has convinced us that the key to faster progress is not incremental money; it is focused action in two critical areas. The first necessary, unavoidable step is for political leaders, education officials, and parents in low-income countries to recognize the depth of the problem (children’s lives and public money wasted) in their country, and have the information to design and implement local solutions. The second is to shift education funding to paying for results, rather than inputs and plans. Specifically, we propose:
A global measure of early learning (we make the case in a new CGD policy paper) that comes at a tiny cost (about $10 million) compared to the billions called for in the Commission’s report.
Paying for progress through a Global Offer for Learning (read the full proposal).
A global measure of early learning
School systems across most of the developing world today have no signal of their widespread learning failures in the first years of primary school. This is needed to drive reform. Most low-income countries have no tests of any kind in the early grades of school; where reading and math assessments have been used, they are not comparable over time or globally-benchmarked. As a result, children waste years in school without learning and governments and donors waste billions of dollars annually on schools that don’t teach. Parents lack the information to demand better education, governments cannot track progress, and the global education community lacks comparable, cross-country data for research on what works.
The technical challenge of creating a robust test of basic skills for 9-year-olds that could be used across the developing world almost immediately is no barrier. There are high-quality regional tests for children in early grades used in West Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean to build on, as well as good tests used for fourth graders (9-year-olds) in rich countries.
Following the example of the OECD’s influential PISA test of 15-year-olds and focusing the early learning measure on an age group—experts suggest 9-year-olds—would de-link the test from a specific curriculum and increase the transparency and global comparability of the results. The estimated cost of developing this test is $10 million, almost rounding error in the Education Commission’s overall price tag. But donor leadership is needed to get different testing agencies to contribute jointly to the creation of a new global public good—a quality test of basic literacy, numeracy, and reasoning skills that can be used across countries of widely different income levels to generate globally benchmarked data.
Nothing is more important than ensuring that all children master literacy and basic numeracy during their first two years in school—the essential foundation for all further learning. Educators across the world need to know how they are doing, compared with other countries, to put urgency behind reforms that are not politically or bureaucratically easy. All countries do need to develop national assessment capacity and our paper (see here) proposes donors dedicate modest resources ($200 million over 10-15 years) for this task, as well. But proceeding in parallel with a test of basic skills for 9-year-olds is the smart way to lower costs and speed up progress.
A global offer for learning
Despite increased donor talk about results, 99 percent of education aid continues to fund inputs: buildings, books, teachers, and training. And even “results-based programs” pay out for sector plans, enrollment increases, or activities such as teacher training—not for any measure of whether children are actually learning. Linking funding for the first time to measured and independently verified progress on learning would powerfully reshape the global education landscape. Our proposed Global Offer for Learning (GOL) (also endorsed in the Commission report) would channel predictable, untied funding to low-income countries that take the first step: testing 9-year-olds and reporting the results. It would create healthy competition among low-income countries for what would be a single, limited pot of donor money: $1 billion over 10 years (small beer in the Commission’s proposal to increase donor support from $13 billion today to $49 billion per year by 2030). For more details, see this blog post by our colleague Bill Savedoff. Only changed incentives, through a program like GOL, can ensure that future dollars invested by both countries and their donors result in learning.
Our two-pronged strategy of a new measure of early learning combined with a new financing channel to reward learning measurement and progress clearly nests within the Commission’s framework. But it also argues for donor financing to focus, first and foremost, on two specific actions that can kick-start progress—and move the road to SDG attainment out of the rut of business as usual.
Nancy Birdsall, our founding president, delivers the 2016 Richard Sabot Memorial Lecture, entitled "New Development Realities in a changing Global Order," in her last public event as CGD president. The same globalization that has brought benefits to millions of people in the developing world is seen as not working for many in advanced economies. Yet, despite today’s turbulent politics, globalization is unlikely to be going away. The question for politicians as well as for development economists is how do we make globalization work for people everywhere? What new development realities should shape our approach to that question?
Nancy Birdsall will step down as CGD president at the end of December 2016, having led the organization for its first 15 years. In this video, some recent visitors to CGD pay tribute to Nancy's many accomplishments.
“We're going to have global markets still operating,” says Nancy Birdsall confidently, but “the big issue is, will we have a good global politics operating?”
And that is indeed the question, as turbulent 2016 draws to a close and 2017 rolls into view. It’s one that will continue to occupy Birdsall, who is stepping down at the end of December as CGD’s first and only president, but will stay on as a senior fellow. No doubt she will join me on the CGD Podcast in the future, but the somewhat symbolic occasion of her last podcast as CGD president offers a chance to reflect on what’s changed, and what she hopes development folks will think about over the coming years.
CGD’s founding—just two months after the 9/11 attacks on the US—coincided, according to Birdsall, with a shift in thinking among US politicians, to embrace the idea that nurturing stable, prosperous societies overseas has direct benefits to the US. That logic continues to underpin much of CGD’s work. Now Birdsall, like many, are concerned that political thinking in some major economies is turning inward again.
A Greater Premium on Cooperation
For development advocates, Birdsall points out three factors to think about in the coming years. Firstly, “development is a long-haul game,” she says, as much a reminder as a strategy, “so I think we just have to think of a five, ten, 15, even 20-year horizon... and keep our eye on the ball.”
“It means I suppose there's a greater premium on thinking about cooperation among nations, particularly on issues like climate but also in general, that we're all in this together in the world.”
Birdsall further defends global cooperation: the rise of China, India and other emerging economies takes us deeper into the multipolar world where the US may still be the only superpower, but by a slightly diminished margin; the dawn of the age of the SDGs brings not only ambitions for all countries, but also a recognition of our interconnectedness—and that some of the biggest problems in the world require global solutions, such as climate change and fast-moving pandemics.
The Plight of Strugglers
Secondly, despite huge reductions in global poverty, there are still many who Birdsall calls “strugglers.”
“Their families have been lifted out of the worst form of abject poverty,” she tells me. “$1.90 is the international poverty line, but $1.91 is not that different. These are people that have gotten to $4 a day, $6 a day, $8 a day even, but in many countries they are extremely vulnerable to a fall back below their current income level." (Check out Birdsall’s co-authored paper on strugglers.)
"In that sense, we can compare them to the problem of the white working class that we are all more familiar with in the US—those are people whose expectations are not being realized and who are frustrated."
The plight of the strugglers is exacerbated, Birdsall says, by inequality and weak states—a combination of factors that the development community cannot ignore in the coming years.
“The reality is that most people, until they get into something I would say is the middle class with relative income security, they probably live in settings where life is not fair, where the state is not protecting them. It might actually be the oppressor.”
Get Out of the Way
Not only is effective government necessary at the national level, but—and this is the third flag Birdsall plants for the future of development—we must also think more about better macroeconomic policies that make the rules of global systems fairer. This, she points out, is something CGD has been doing since its inception 15 years ago, and something that it will continue to do under new president Masood Ahmed. It harks back to a simple mantra Birdsall and CGD have been repeating: get out of the way.
"Much of the future of developing countries, and the people in those countries, is in their own hands,” Birdsall says. “In a way, the task of us outside who want to see development happen, is as much not to get in the way. That's at the heart of the problem we all face: how to do good without doing harm.”
Nancy Birdsall steps down as CGD president at the end of December 2016, having led the organization for its first fifteen years. Below, some recent visitors to CGD pay tribute to her accomplishments. Masood Ahmed will join us in early 2017.
“We are going to have global markets still operating,” says Nancy Birdsall confidently, but “the big issue is, will we have a good global politics operating?" And that is indeed the question, as turbulent 2016 draws to a close and 2017 rolls into view. It’s one that will continue to occupy Birdsall, who is stepping down at the end of December as CGD’s first and only president, but will stay on as a senior fellow. The somewhat symbolic occasion of her last podcast as CGD president offers a chance to reflect on what’s changed, and what she hopes development folks will think about over the coming years.
In uncertain political times, the world needs solutions that enjoy broad-based support. Drawing on more than 20 research papers commissioned over two years, Why Forests? Why Now? demonstrates the disproportionate impact tropical forests can have on climate change mitigation, how the livelihoods of millions of poor people around the world depend on the services they provide, and how consensus has been reached on a framework for international cooperation to conserve them.
While most technical assessments classify privatization as a success, it remains widely and increasingly unpopular, largely because of the perception that it is fundamentally unfair, both in conception and execution. We review the increasing (but still uneven) literature and conclude that most privatization programs appear to have worsened the distribution of assets and income, at least in the short run. This is more evident in transition economies than in Latin America, and less clear for utilities such as electricity and telecommunications, where the poor have tended to benefit from much greater access, than for banks, oil companies, and other natural resource producers.
In the face of continuing development challenges in the world's poorest countries, there have been new calls throughout the donor community to increase the volume of development aid. Equal attention is needed to reform of the aid business itself, that is, the practices and processes and procedures and politics of aid. This paper sets out the shortcomings of that business on which new research has recently shed light, but which have not been adequately or explicitly incorporated into the donor community's reform agenda. It outlines seven of the worst "sins" or failings of donors, including impatience with institution building, collusion and coordination failures, failure to evaluate the results of their support, and financing that is volatile and unpredictable. It suggests possible short-term practical fixes and notes the need ultimately for more ambitious and structural changes in the overall aid architecture.
Please join the Embassy of France and the Center for Global Development as we honor CGD Senior Fellow Frances Seymour, who has been awarded the title of Officer by the French Republic’s Order of Agricultural Merit (Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole) for her work to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development as Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) from 2006 to 2012. The Order of Agricultural Merit, consisting of three ranks: Commander, Officer and Knight, is an order bestowed by the French Republic to individuals for their outstanding services to agriculture in public duties or in the practice of agriculture. It also rewards people who distinguish themselves in scientific research or in related publications. To date, women account for only 27% of those receiving this honor and few of these are American women.
Seymour received the honor for her leadership in encouraging dialogue between the worlds of science and policy, developing a culture of impact assessment at CIFOR, establishing the annual Forest Day, and insisting on the highest quality scientific research. As a CGD Senior Fellow, Seymour leads the Tropical Forests for Climate and Development initiative. Her work has focused on creating a global consensus about the importance of forest conservation and promoting results-based financing for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
The Center for Global Development (CGD) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will hold two thematically-linked, consecutive events.
We will begin with the release of the 2014 OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) annual flagship publication, the Development Co-operation Report (DCR), at 9:45 a.m. This year’s DCR focuses on the challenges and opportunities for Mobilising Resources for Sustainable Development. A presentation of the report’s key findings and recommendations will be followed by a discussion and questions from the floor.
Following a coffee break, CGD fellows Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch will present a preview of the findings from a forthcoming CGD book, Why Forests? Why Now? at 11:15 a.m. The book draws upon science, economics, and politics to show that tropical forests are essential for climate stability and sustainable development, that now is the time for action, and that payment-for-performance finance is a course of action with great potential for success.
The first part of the program will provide a valuable overview of the available resources and options for mobilising financing for sustainable development. The second will allow a deeper look at how to apply the ideas in the OECD-DAC report to the specific and urgent challenge of protecting the climate and promoting development by slowing tropical deforestation.
Please join us in honoring Senator Richard Lugar, winner of the 2012 Commitment to Development Award, sponsored by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Foreign Policy Magazine. Bestowed annually since 2003, the Award honors an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies towards the developing world.
As the Republican leader of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Lugar has employed his statesmanship to overcome partisan divides and push for a more effective US development strategy and for US foreign assistance programs that promote capacity, accountability, and transparency. During his chairmanship, the Committee passed legislation including the Global AIDS Assistance Program and the creation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Senator Lugar has also co-authored several key pieces of development legislation including Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, often called the Cardin-Lugar Transparency Provision; the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act; and the 2007 Vaccines for the Futures Act.
Climate negotiations have focused on reaching a top-down international agreement and on mobilizing a pool of financial resources. This brief explains the urgent need for a new entity to provide nonfinancial services to faciliate and augment climate action that any nations and private actors take. It explores one possible path for filling the gap: the creation of a new arm of the World Bank.
The paper sets out two views of the facts about the effects of globalization on world poverty and inequality. The bottom line: globalization is not the cause, but neither is it the solution to world poverty and inequality. The paper then explores why and how the global economy is stacked against the poor, making globalization asymmetric, at least up to now. It concludes with some ideas about a new agenda of good global politics, an agenda to shape a future global economy and society that is less poor and less unequal—not only because it is more global and competitive, but also because it is more fair and more politically representative.
We assess the dynamic behind the high net resource transfers of donors and creditors, IDA, bilaterals, IBRD, IMF and other multilateral creditors to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. Analyzing a panel of 37 recipient countries over the years 1978-98, we find that net transfers were greater in poorer and smaller countries. The quality of countries' policy framework mattered little, however, in determining overall net transfers.
I suggest in this paper the logic of going beyond the standard, poverty-targeted, elements of good social policy to a modern social contract adapted to the demands and the constraints of an open economy. Such a contract would be explicitly based on broad job-based growth. Second, it would be politically and economically directed not only at the currently poor but at the near-poor and economically insecure middle-income strata.
In this paper I set out the economic logic for why good global economic governance matters for reducing poverty and inequality and argue that a step towards better global governance would be better representation of developing countries in global and regional financial institutions.
After a decade of economic reforms that dramatically altered the structure of economies in Latin America, making them more open and more competitive, and a decade of substantial increases in public spending on education, health and other social programs in virtually all countries, poverty and high inequality remain deeply entrenched. In this paper we ask the question whether some fundamentally different approach to what we call "social policy" in Latin America could make a difference — both in increasing growth and in directly reducing poverty. We propose a more explicitly "bootstraps"-style social policy, focused on enhancing productivity via better distribution of assets. We set out how this broader social policy could address the underlying causes and not just the symptoms of the region's unhappy combination of high poverty and inequality with low growth.
This paper applies a new approach to the estimation of the impact of policy, both the levels and the changes, on wage differentials using a new high-quality data set on wage differentials by schooling level for 18 Latin American countries for the period 1977–1998. The results indicate that liberalizing policy changes overall have had a short-run disequalizing effect of expanding wage differentials, although this effect tends to fade away over time.
In 1999, the United States and other major donor countries supported an historic expansion of the heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) debt relief initiative. Three years after the initiative came into existence, we are beginning to see the apparent impact that HIPC is having, particularly on recipient countries' ability and willingness to increase domestic spending on education and HIV/AIDS programs. Yet it has also become clear that the HIPC program is not providing a sufficient level of predictability or sustainability to allow debtor countries (and donors) to reap the larger benefits, particularly in terms of sustained growth and poverty reduction, originally envisioned. After reviewing some of the main critiques and proposals for change, we offer here a new way forward -- a proposal to deepen, widen, and most importantly insure debt relief to poor countries.
Nigeria is currently classified by the World Bank as a ‘blend’ country, making it the poorest country in the world that does not have ‘IDA-only’ status. This paper uses the World Bank’s own IDA eligibility criteria to assess whether Nigeria has a case for reclassification.