Ideas to Action:

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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 woman working at a stall in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage, via imagesofempowerment.org

Leveraging American Enterprise to Deliver Women’s Global Development and Prosperity

Today, the Trump administration rolled out the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). Pillars one and two seem to suggest a rebranding of existing funding for women’s economic empowerment efforts in USAID and a repackaging of previously announced initiatives at the World Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation. But the third pillar is potentially more encouraging.

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A Review of the Mid-Term Review of the IDA Private Sector Window

A few weeks ago, the World Bank’s soft-lending arm IDA held the mid-term review of its 18th round of funding. As background for the meeting, the World Bank produced a status update of the new IDA Private Sector Window (PSW) that I have blogged about before. The update provides valuable insight into how the $2.5 billion of PSW funding is being used at the halfway mark of its spending cycle but leaves some big unknowns.

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Introducing “Sounds Robotic: A CGD Podcast”

CGD’s Study Group on Technology, Comparative Advantage, and Development Prospects is looking at current technology trends, including those around automation and artificial intelligence, and thinking through what they might imply for global economic growth and the distribution of income into the future. As part of that effort, and alongside meetings, papers, and blogs, we are launching a series of podcasts with Study Group members and other experts called Sounds Robotic.

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What Robopocalypse?

The Future of Work is all the rage—the latest World Bank World Development Report is dedicated to the issue, the World Economic Forum and McKinsey have issued multiple reports, and "your job is being stolen by a robot" articles are being churned out at a rate that suggests IBM’s Watson has been reprogrammed to deliver 50 think pieces a day. We’ve been here before, of course: dire warnings of a machine age of mass unemployment have been around for at least a century. Is this time different?

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Don’t Let Development Finance Institutions Water Down Principles on Subsidizing Private Companies

In my last blog post on the IDA Private Sector Window, I noted the strong principles on subsidies to the private sector that were agreed by the heads of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) in 2012 as part of the Multilateral Development Bank Principles to Support Sustainable Private Sector Operations. Those principles can be summarized as “start with the public policy problem, use open offers or competitive approaches, maximize transparency.” It is interesting to compare the MDB principles to the principles which later emerged from the DFI Working Group on Blended Concessional Finance for Private Sector Projects.

 
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Addressing the Gender Gap in Senior Staffing at the United Nations

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said gender equality at the United Nations is “an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.” Guterres was quick to meet his goal of gender parity in UN senior management. But 18 years past an initial 2000 target date for gender parity in the UN system as a whole, there is still a long way to go. The organization remains off track to meet the new target for parity at all levels by 2030. There is also evidence that the rate of change will be hard to boost without a new approach.

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Redesigning the IDA Private Sector Window for Impact: Some Principles and Potential Practices

I have previously suggested that the current design of the $2.5 billion World Bank/IDA Private Sector Window (PSW) seemed an inefficient use of scarce aid resources, didn’t follow the World Bank’s own guidance on disclosure and design of subsidies to the private sector, and is noncompetitive, nontransparent, and unstructured. In this blog post, I offer some ideas on how the World Bank Group could reconstruct the PSW towards real development impact in the next round of IDA funding, to be negotiated in 2019.

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What Laws Matter Most in Entrenching Gender Inequality Worldwide?

The Women, Business and the Law program at the World Bank has done a wonderful job of cataloguing the thousands of legal restrictions worldwide that constrain women’s abilities to be equal participants in the economy—from legislation mandating women ask a male family member for permission before opening a bank account through rules banning women from certain jobs to unequal property rights. Pairing that data with surveyed outcomes would make it an even more powerful tool.

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