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Sub-Saharan African countries are at a critical juncture. With China's slowdown and the collapse in commodity prices, growth slipped to 3.4 percent in 2015, on average just over half what it has been for the past 15 years. Estimated growth for 2016 is below the population growth rate of about 2 percent, thus negative in per capita terms.
The most essential feature of a social impact bond (SIB) is measuring impact. But what happens if the impact metric is questioned or unclear? A recent dispute over measuring the impact of a SIB for early childhood development in Utah yields two important practical lessons for this innovative financing tool. First, SIB implementers should be careful not to exaggerate the precision of their success indicators. Second, they need to be clear to everyone about which objectives they are pursuing.
No one said creating development impact bonds (DIB) was going to be easy, but that hasn’t stopped the development community from trying to get them off the ground. The Fred Hollows Foundation, based in Australia, has been hard at work on a DIB to address cataract blindness in Africa. As the Foundation attracts partners to help fund and implement a pilot of the cataract bond, Dr. Lachlan McDonald, the Foundation’s senior health economist, and Alex Rankin, their Global Lead for Policy, Advocacy & Research, shared some lessons learned so far. With Lachlan and Alex’s permission, we’re turning some of those lessons over to you – we hope they’re useful to others seeking to move ahead with their own DIB.
When designing and implementing Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), practitioners and policy innovators in the developing world will inevitably face the challenge of understanding and adapting SIBs to each government’s legal jurisdiction.
There is no denying that interest in Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) is steadily growing: with investments coming from big banks like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch and approximately 26 SIBs implemented in industrialized countries across the globe (see below for a more detailed listing), an evidence base is starting to accumulate on what works and what doesn’t.
In recent years, donors have been making greater use of performance-based payment approaches to fund development programs. The UK Department for International Development, using the broader term being used across the UK government, has added “Payment by Results” (PbR) to the development lexicon.