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In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade last week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argued that support for the G-20 commitments to increase lending resources at the IMF is a critical part of ensuring U.S. recovery from the economic crisis and global prosperity and security. She was, however, confronted with a host of concerns about whether multilateral lending would go to governments like Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and with one member of Congress’s view that he “is a citizen of the United States, not the world.”
Last week was a good week for the world's poor countries. It was also a good week for multilateralism and for Bob Zoellick, the World Bank's president. The rich country governments that support the International Development Association or IDA, the World Bank's concessional window, pledged a record $41.6 billion for IDA's 15th replenishment, a 30% increase over the 14th replenishment.
The FT notes that talks have begun for the IDA-15 replenishment round. This is the latest set of negotiations that take place every three years where the World Bank asks its shareholders for cash to provide grants or to buy down the interest rates for its lending to poor countries--and when the donors typically load up the Bank with new conditions. Although these talks are often tough, the donors almost always increase their contributions.
*This post is co-authored by Kaysie Brown
The World Bank's Operations Evaluation Division has just released a lengthy report documenting a rise in the world's "fragile states" and drawing a direct connection between state weakness and transnational threats. As Karen DeYoung reports in today's Washington Post,
“Fragile" countries, whose deepening poverty puts them at risk from terrorism, armed conflict and epidemic disease, have jumped to 26 from 17 since the report was last issued in 2000.
Increased attention to development and stability in fragile states by both the World Bank and the U.S. Government signals the importance of and challenges associated with providing assistance in these critical yet vulnerable states. CGD recently launched the Engaging Fragile States initiative to focus on key unanswered questions for the development community working in these tough environments. A quick read of the Bank report raises a number of issues that our work is focusing on: