Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Map of Chinese lending projects around the world, concentrated in Europe, Asia, and Africa

The Problem Isn’t that Chinese Lending Is Too Big, It’s that the US and Europe’s Is Too Small

As the possibility of a new Cold War between the US and China gains traction in some foreign policy circles, the scale of Chinese development finance has taken center stage. A closer examination suggests the cost to China of this lending is distinctly underwhelming. It would be cheap for the US and Europe to match China’s lending numbers –and in the interest of global development if it was done right.

A chart showing that IFC spend is concentrated in middle-income countries

Making the International Finance Corporation Relevant

Philippe Le Houerou, the Chief Executive of the IFC has announced his intention to step down in September. His legacy will include a significant effort to focus the work of the corporation on development impact and the world’s poorest countries. Le Houerou has had some success. But a look at IFC’s portfolio suggests how far the institution still has to go to have the biggest impact.

A photo illustration of a seesaw out of balance. Adobe Stock.

Mobilization: Much Less than Meets the Eye

Imagine the young George Washington said, “I cannot tell a lie. I did not cut down the cherry tree,” then added sotto voce, “’twas the hatchet that did it.” Multilateral development banks (MDBs) and development finance institutions are dissembling in the other direction when it comes to their impact—not unreasonably shifting blame but implausibly taking credit.

An image of business

If Development Finance Institutions Are Providing Aid, They Should Act Accordingly

How should member countries of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee classify their support to private sector investments in developing countries though development finance institutions? Either way, donors have decided that DFIs are in the aid business. And that means that DFIs should follow the principles of effective aid that DAC donors have signed up to.

A pile of money, giftwrapped. Adobe Stock.

Development Finance Institutions Should Be Instruments of Public Policy, Not Private Gain

The World Bank Group has some very clear (and very good) guidelines about what makes for a successful public-private partnership where governments contract service provision like energy supply or education from private firms. Sadly, the bank has been ignoring that rule recently. And that is a sign of a broader problem in donor-backed financing of public-private partnership deals.

An image of the financial sector buildings

Subsidy Use in Development Finance: Competitive, Capped, Transparent

When development finance institutions (DFIs) use subsidies to support private firms in developing countries, they fundamentally change the nature of their business. To ensure the maximum development impact of scarce aid resources, subsidies should be competitive wherever possible, capped if not competitive, and transparent in every case.

Chart showing IFC project ratings

Is the New Model IFC a Good Deal for IDA Countries?

For much of the last decade, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has delivered a share of its profits as grants to the World Bank Group’s soft lending arm for governments, the International Development Association (IDA). In the last couple of years that pattern has reversed.

The World Bank Group's headquarters

Congress Spotlights the World Bank’s Private Sector Subsidies

Yesterday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing with US Secretary of the Treasury Stephen Mnuchin on the international financial system. Chairwoman Maxine Waters opened the session with a strong statement on the World Bank’s $2.5 billion IDA Private Sector Window (PSW). Chairwoman Waters raises important concerns with the Private Sector Window that should be urgently addressed.

Pages