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Every MDB is now confronted with the question of what to do with middle-income countries, given the need to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals in general, but very concretely on goal #1—poverty eradication—which will be difficult to achieve based on recent trends. MDBs are very important for MICs, but at the same time MICs are vital for MDBs. This is essentially a two-way relationship. Without MICs, MDBs will be less innovative, will have less knowledge and, importantly, will require more capital from shareholders. I will explain why I believe so in this short note.
The big takeaway from the 2018 CGD Development Leaders conference was that all agencies, new and old, face similar opportunities and challenges—of relevance, responsiveness, communication, capability, and resilience—and there is much to learn from sharing experiences, especially at this time of profound change in the world of international development. CGD’s 2019 Development Leaders conference, co-hosted with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in Beijing, China, will again bring together the community of Heads and Directors of development cooperation in aid agencies and ministries from around the world.
Concern about relatively low development finance institution (DFI) mobilization ratios (dollars of private finance mobilized per dollar of DFI’s own commitments) is drawing attention to the product mix in DFI operations.
In 2019-20, donors will commit roughly $170 billion of public funding to an alphabet soup of international aid organisations, many of which their citizens may never have heard of. Each replenishment will be considered as a separate exercise, ignoring the reality that they are competing for limited donor resources.
Official bilateral and multilateral development agencies are under strain from opposing forces: on the one hand, they are confronted with a world in which the development challenges are interconnected and daunting, and the risks are systemic and increasing; on the other, they are grappling with a world in which ardent nationalism, protectionism, and populism are rising, and rules-based multilateralism is declining.
Donors are considering a proposal for a new “innovative finance mechanism” to increase funding for education, based on recommendations from Gordon Brown’s Education Commission. We agree that we need to finance an expansion of education in the developing world. But sadly, the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) proposal is too good to be true. Using donor guarantees to increase lending by multilateral banks could increase the supply of loans—but there are simpler ways to do that without setting up a new facility.
The IDFC represents a unique mix of bilateral agencies, national development banks, and regional development banks. As such, it holds promise for bringing new and productive collaborations to the SDG agenda that extend well beyond the work of the major multilateral development institutions. In a new brief, our efforts to map the scale and scope of IDFC members’ development financing through a membership survey and public databases provide some interesting takeaways:
Why should countries invest in human capital? As emerging technologies impact economies and societies, how can we ensure that the most vulnerable are protected? Who will step up to finance the SDGs? Next week’s Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF will convene 13,000 global policymakers, private sector executives, academics, and civil society members in Bali, Indonesia as they work to address these questions and more.
In a new CGD paper, we assess the likelihood of debt problems in the 68 countries we identify as potential BRI borrowers. The big takeaway: BRI is unlikely to cause a systemic debt problem, yet the initiative will likely run into instances of debt problems among select participating countries—requiring better standards and improved debt practices from China.