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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.

 

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential. 

US Treasury Under Secretary Nathan Sheets Calls for Action on De-risking at CGD Report Launch Event

Last Thursday, Under Secretary of the US Treasury Nathan Sheets spoke at CGD about anti–money laundering policies and the problem of de-risking, in connection with the launch of a new CGD working group report on the unintended consequences of anti–money laundering policies for poor countries. Sheets’s comments were consistent with the report’s key recommendations including the need for better data and for clearer guidance from financial regulators and standards setters.

Are Anti–Money Laundering Policies Hurting Poor Countries? – New CGD Working Group Report

Next week, the G-20 Leaders will meet in Antalya, Turkey, to continue their conversation about the importance of financial inclusion in achieving strong, sustainable, balanced economic growth. One item on the agenda will be the cost of remittances. In 2009, G-8 Leaders set a goal of reducing remittance costs to 5 percent within 5 years, roughly a 5 percentage point decrease.

New Study of Somali Remittance Flows Does Not Actually Tell Us Much about Somali Remittance Flows

The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015

The Financing for Development Conference, which drew to a close yesterday in Addis Ababa, was never going to solve all the world’s development problems.  What it could do was establish a shared policy framework within which decisions for the rest of 2015 can be taken. The outcome document, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, actually does that pretty well.  But the real test is still to come: what specifically will countries commit to which will make these ideas real?

The Rainmakers in Addis

The rainy season, known as kiremt, began in earnest today in Addis Ababa, host city for a huge UN conference on Financing for Development. The arrival of kiremt is good news for the farmers in Ethiopia’s highlands, but bad news for the thousands of delegates from government, business, and civil society sploshing in their Birkenstocks through the puddles between the hotels and the UN conference centre.

How Much Do We Really Know about Multinational Tax Avoidance and How Much Is it Really Worth? Comments Welcome!

At the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa this week, the issue of international cooperation to address ‘tax dodging’ and illicit flows will be higher up the agenda than ever before. Credit for this is due in no small part to the various non-governmental organizations that have built up public consciousness and pressure through sustained campaigns focused on the tax affairs of multinational companies.

Extending the UK Charity Commission’s Anti-Terror Powers Could Backfire

During the Queen’s Speech, newly re-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron proposed an extended counter-extremism bill in order to confront “head-on the poisonous Islamist extremist ideology.” A press release from the Prime Minister’s office said that the Bill would give new powers to the UK’s Charity Commission to identify charities that use their income to fund extremism and terrorism.

How Can We Make Illicit Finance Less Illicit?

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.

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