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The world, as they say, is moving “beyond aid.” As true as that may be in aggregate, however, the trend doesn’t apply evenly across groups of countries. While fairly significant data gaps prevent a complete and unbiased picture, the available data show that ODA remains a comparatively prominent source of external financing for fragile states.
It is now abundantly clear that aid money will provide only a fraction of the resources needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. That realization came early on, and it was a central theme of the Addis Financing for Development conference of 2015, held before the SDGs were even signed.
“IFC 3.0” is a welcome and important initiative for a development finance institution that in the past has been accused of putting profits before impact. But the IDA PSW instrument is a throwback to the old IFC—opaque as well as inefficiently targeted on development results. Designing “PSW 2.0” should be an urgent priority at the IDA 18 Mid-Term Review in November.
The formidable challenge of financing the Sustainable Development Goals has focused attention on the role of private capital in filling huge finance gaps. But for low-income countries (LICs), which receive only about 5 percent of total cross-border private capital flows to developing countries, there is little confidence that external private capital will make a significant contribution.
There is an urgent need to change PSW business models to maintain their financial sustainability while doing much better on mobilization and development impact. Two factors are critical for meeting this challenge: enhanced risk management capability and greater flexibility regarding risk-adjusted returns.
This week, CGD hosted a discussion with Philippe Le Houérou, the CEO of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank. He was enthusiastic about his institution’s role in leveraging private capital and getting from billions to trillions of dollars for development, but he also presented a nuanced and critical judgment about the limitations of the IFC model to date, pointing to a number of ways it needs to change.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
In two weeks, a teaming mass of world leaders are going to descend on New York to sign up to the Sustainable Development Goals. Among the targets to be met by 2030 are global universal access to water, sanitation, reliable modern energy, and communications technologies. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that meeting these infrastructure targets would involve a trillion or more dollars in additional infrastructure investment in developing countries every year. That begs the question: where is the money going to come from?
Meeting the SDG targets for infrastructure in developing countries is going to cost around USD 1 trillion a year. With official development assistance at around $150 billion, other official flows at $27 billion, and investment in infrastructure with private involvement at about $181 billion, it is clear that the majority of infrastructure finance will have to come from domestic resource mobilization in developing countries (which comes to about $9.2 trillion per year).