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.

 

Image of citizens for fiscal policy

While Creating Fiscal Space for COVID-19 in Developing Countries, Be Sure to Consult Civil Society

Even as the COVID-19 curve begins to flatten in the Northern Hemisphere, the developing world is just starting to feel its onslaught. Just as in the United States, where some of the most effective responses to the global pandemic are generated locally, the success of developing countries will also be determined by the actions of local leaders, citizens, and organizations—including fiscal responses.

Chart showing estimates for additional spending by 2030

Tax Revenues in Africa Will be Insufficient to Finance Development Goals

The IMF estimates that on average, low-income countries (LIC) will need additional resources amounting to 15.4 percent of GDP to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education, health, roads, electricity, and water by 2030. These resource requirements are even greater in sub-Saharan Africa than in a typical LIC: the median sub-Saharan African country faces additional spending of about 19 percent of GDP. In the average LIC, the IMF estimates that of the required additional financing, 5 percentage points of GDP would have to come from domestic taxes.

Image of multiple banknotes for international taxation

Sub-Saharan Africa and International Taxation: Time for Unilateral Action?

While sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries have made some progress in collecting more taxes domestically in the last 20 years, international tax issues remain a significant concern for these and other developing countries, reflecting aggressive tax planning by multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the international initiatives designed by G20-OCED countries in response. Drawing on a new CGD paper on international taxation and developing countries, we argue here that the time has come for SSA countries, and developing countries in general, to take unilateral action.

Burundian soldiers deployed with AMISOM on patrol. Photo from AMISOM Public Information, via Flickr

Converging Military Spending and Its Fiscal Consequences

Worldwide military spending as a percentage of GDP in the years since the Global Crisis has been at nearly half its level during the Cold War. This column identifies three groups into which spending has been converging. It also shows that external threat levels are a factor in determining military spending, but only in developing economies. The results suggest a significant peace dividend from reducing internal conflicts, with a country that moves from the bottom 25% to the top 25% of developing countries on political stability and the absence of violence/terrorism likely to reduce military spending by about half a percentage point of GDP. 

Achieving the SDGs Will Require More than Revenue Increases

How much progress is made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is likely to depend crucially on resources low and lower-middle income countries (LIC/LMICs) can mobilize domestically. This is because the financing needed to achieve the SDGs is large.

A table showing tax revenue as a share of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa

Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilization: What are the Real Obstacles?

At the Center for Global Development, we recently initiated a project to develop more effective and equitable strategies for domestic resource mobilization in low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The impetus for the project is the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for financing development, which calls on developing countries to step up their efforts to collect more taxes domestically to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

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