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It is now only a question of when, not if, the COVID-19 pandemic will exact its human and economic toll on the poor and developing countries of South Asia, Africa, and Latin America the way it is already ravaging East Asia, Europe, and North America. And when it does, they too will need to respond with exceptional heath and financial measures in the face of this unprecedented global challenge.
Caroline Atkinson and I recently posted a blog summarizing our main takeaways from a year-long study group that CGD hosted on technology, comparative advantage, and development prospects. A notable reaction I got to this piece is why there seemed to be such a wide divergence of views about this issue—notably relating to automation, robotics, and AI—across a range of experts.
In July 2018, we set up a CGD study group to discuss the impact on developing countries of automation, manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and the global governance of data. Let's step back and summarize some of what we've heard and read, and where we think the conversation might be headed.
I’ve been given two kinds of arguments in support of not borrowing for social sector projects. The first is about their ability to repay the borrowing by generating enough foreign exchange. And the second is skepticism about the productivity of government spending in these areas. Let me take each in turn.
The global narrative on development finance centers on enabling all countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This cascades into a set of questions about how much financing is needed, how it should be mobilized, and how it will be used. While the SDGs motivate action and have a reasonable prospect of being met in middle-income developing countries, achieving the SDGs in low-income countries (LICs), which have further to travel and more binding resource and institutional constraints, will be harder. The challenge will be most acute in Africa, where pockets of absolute poverty are increasingly concentrated and environmental degradation and conflict add to state fragility.
Spring has finally sprung in Washington, DC! And that also means a series of substantive discussions on today's most pressing global development issues—from private sector financing in Africa to the future of the World Bank—are springing up at the Center for Global Development. Join us next week in person or online for these important conversations that will happen alongside the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings.
When the finance ministers of the G20 countries set up an Eminent Persons Group 18 months ago, many observers were both hopeful and skeptical about the likely outcome. Now that the EPG’s report is out, what’s the verdict on how transformative its efforts will be?