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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.

 

Chart showing the loans received and repayments for World Bank clients. Most countries are net positive but some are barely and others are negative.

The World Bank’s Response to Our Analysis of its COVID Relief Efforts

Our recent paper examining the World Bank’s COVID-19 performance garnered a response from the institution, which you can read here. We very much welcome the bank’s comments on its crisis performance in reaction to our paper. We stand by the data and conclusions of our paper, but it’s worth reviewing some of the issues under debate here and reiterating the core questions and findings from our work.

Projected IDA allocations under scenario 4, with grants rising to 59%

More World Bank Borrowers Will Need Grants, Not Loans. As a Result, More World Bank Donors Will Need to Pony Up

Rather than providing relief on repayments from existing loans, IDA’s debt sustainability framework adjusts future financing from loans to grants for countries at high risk of debt distress. But what happens to IDA’s loans-to-grants model when a large number of IDA countries trigger the risk thresholds? Can IDA afford its commitment to debt sustainability?

A construction worker at an unfinished building in China. Curt Carnemark, World Bank photo.

With a Debt Crisis Looming, Researchers Who Estimated China’s “Hidden” Lending Respond to Their Critics

Last year, economists Sebastian Horn, Carmen Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch put forward estimates of the Chinese government’s external (“overseas”) lending in a working paper. Their work was a landmark effort in a number of respects. Perhaps not surprisingly for a working paper, Horn et al. also attracted critics. In a new note for CGD, Horn et al. respond to this criticism.

A stock photo of a see-through piggy bank. Adobe Stock.

A Reckoning for China’s Opaque Overseas Lending

We are so accustomed to the Chinese government’s lack of transparency that the opaqueness of China’s overseas loans seems unremarkable at this point. But as we face what inevitably looks like a global debt crisis, one that is likely to hit low-income countries particularly hard, a clear accounting of the scale of the problem is critical. 

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