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This week, World Bank president David Malpass took the unusual step of calling out the bank’s peer institutions, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and African Development Bank, for lending irresponsibly into unsustainable debt environments.
When it comes to the United States, the reality is that the Global Fund is winning the fundraising game hands down. China, meanwhile, doubled its contribution to IDA—contrast that with the country’s longstanding indifference to the Global Fund. Clearly the world’s most important emerging donor views the multilateral architecture differently than the world’s most important traditional donor does.
While Djankov railed against our criticism of Doing Business’s ideological slant, he failed to respond whatsoever to the data-based, methodological points we raised about the Doing Business index. Whatever the ideological leanings of CGD staff, when confronted with data and code questioning our analysis, I hope we can do better than name-calling.
Today the IFC announced a step forward in its transparency around the use of aid resources to finance private companies. That’s right and proper: When scarce aid, and scarce tax resources, are used to support private firms, citizens of donor countries and recipient countries alike have a right to know where the money is going to and how generous the terms. A number of us at CGD had been calling for greater transparency around subsidies to the private sector from the IFC and other development finance institutions, so this is a welcome first step. However, a few aspects have might be cause for concern.
Trust funds are often regarded within donor agencies, such as DFID, as a useful mechanism to bypass lack of consensus within the multilateral, or to circumvent bureaucratic obstacles. But trust funds should properly be regarded as second or third best solutions.
International Finance Corporation CEO Philippe Le Houerou announced that the IFC’s board will undertake a review of its accountability mechanisms, including the office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman. The announcement is timely. By initiating a review, IFC’s Board is taking the first step toward a more transparent and accountable operating structure.
Yesterday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing with US Secretary of the Treasury Stephen Mnuchin on the international financial system. Chairwoman Maxine Waters opened the session with a strong statement on the World Bank’s $2.5 billion IDA Private Sector Window (PSW). Chairwoman Waters raises important concerns with the Private Sector Window that should be urgently addressed.
Spring has finally sprung in Washington, DC! And that also means a series of substantive discussions on today's most pressing global development issues—from private sector financing in Africa to the future of the World Bank—are springing up at the Center for Global Development. Join us next week in person or online for these important conversations that will happen alongside the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings.