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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.

 

A graphic showing money and stocks

If the World Bank Wants to Move On from the Doing Business Scandal, It Should Take a Look at AidData

Today’s release of a new dataset of over 13,000 Chinese-financed projects in developing countries marks a major contribution to our understanding of China’s role as a lender to the developing world, as well as the ways in which these projects are increasingly structured to avoid accounting for direct liabilities on public balance sheets. At a moment of high debt vulnerability in the developing world, both contributions ought to prove valuable to policymakers in rich and poor countries alike as they seek to work through these problems.  

A graphic of the map of Asia.

How Well Has ADB Responded to Government Needs during the COVID-19 Crisis?

Among the multilateral development banks, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stands out for its strong financial support for COVID-19 response relative to its overall lending volume. While ADB has proven to be responsive to government’s general financing needs during the crisis, has ADB’s performance matched the specific needs of the governments and populations facing the crisis in the region? Have the greater volumes of support actually targeted the people, places, and sectors that most need it? In a new policy paper, we tackle these questions.

A graph of countries where debt service exceeds new disbursements on official debt

Visualizing the Debt Service Drag on Developing Country Governments

The G7 countries pledged a massive scale-up in support of developing-country financing at their recent summit in the UK. How it will be financed remains an open question. But analyzing trends in recent debt flows by lenders to developing countries, and taking stock of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), can provide some important lessons for the G7’s new ambitions.

A road construction project in Sri Lanka. Photo by Deshan Tennekoon/World Bank

In the Secretive World of Government-to-Government Lending, 100 Chinese Debt Contracts Offer a Trove of New Information

Is Chinese financing good for developing countries? Taking stock of China’s lending activities has long been hindered by the lack of publicly available data on dimensions like loan volumes and interest rates, let alone more esoteric features like loan collateral or default contingencies. A pathbreaking new study by researchers at AidData at William & Mary, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Georgetown Law School, and the Center for Global Development changes that.

An image of Latin American currency.

The Case for an IDB Capital Increase Is Everywhere Except in the IDB’s Lending Numbers

Today the IDB is again making the case for a capital increase to its shareholders. Yet, despite an unfolding crisis that threatens development progress in Latin America to a degree that eclipses the Global Financial Crisis,  talk of a financing cliff at the bank is absent from its appeal for more capital. That’s because a spike in crisis financing has yet to materialize in IDB’s lending numbers.

Makhtar Diop speaks into a microphone in front of an orange backdrop

An Agenda for Makhtar Diop at the IFC

Makhtar Diop, former minister of finance in Senegal and current vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank, has been tapped to be the next head of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector investment arm. This is welcome news: Diop’s experience and talents can help steer IFC towards greater development impact during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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.

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