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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.

 

Stacks of US dollars. Adobe Stock

More Than $1 Trillion in MDB Firepower Exists as We Approach a COVID-19 “Break the Glass” Moment

In retrospect, the scale up in MDB financing during the 2008-2010 crisis, though significant, now looks conservative as we consider the potential scale of damage from the current COVID-19 pandemic. To put the question bluntly, if the human and economic devastation follows a worst-case scenario, just how much could the MDBs do to respond? We attempt to answer that question by assessing the legal, rather than prudential, constraints on MDB lending.

An aerial view of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by Dominic Chavez / World Bank

“Spend What It Takes” to Respond to COVID-19 in Poor Countries, Too

It is now only a question of when, not if, the COVID-19 pandemic will exact its human and economic toll on the poor and developing countries of South Asia, Africa, and Latin America the way it is already ravaging East Asia, Europe, and North America. And when it does, they too will need to respond with exceptional heath and financial measures in the face of this unprecedented global challenge.

A worker at a power station in Kabul. Photo by Graham Crouch, World Bank

5 Principles on the Uses and Misuses of Debt Relief to Address the Coronavirus Pandemic

Debt relief for low-income countries is on the table of measures to consider for coronavirus response. The imperative right now is to get cash to LICs as quickly as possible. Suspending some debt service payments may be a good first step in freeing up some budget space for new spending. Beyond that, protracted debt-relief negotiations with multilateral and commercial creditors right now could be a distraction at best but could also actively undermine the ability of institutions like the World Bank to offer new financing for crisis response.

Panoramic view of Bogota, Colombia

The Interdependence Between Multilateral Development Banks and Middle-Income Countries

Every MDB is now confronted with the question of what to do with middle-income countries, given the need to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals in general, but very concretely on goal #1—poverty eradication—which will be difficult to achieve based on recent trends. MDBs are very important for MICs, but at the same time MICs are vital for MDBs. This is essentially a two-way relationship. Without MICs, MDBs will be less innovative, will have less knowledge and, importantly, will require more capital from shareholders. I will explain why I believe so in this short note.

Abstract image of connections being made.

Building a Foundation for Better Development Cooperation: CGD Development Leaders Conference 2019

The big takeaway from the 2018 CGD Development Leaders conference was that all agencies, new and old, face similar opportunities and challenges—of relevance, responsiveness, communication, capability, and resilience—and there is much to learn from sharing experiences, especially at this time of profound change in the world of international development. CGD’s 2019 Development Leaders conference, co-hosted with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in Beijing, China, will again bring together the community of Heads and Directors of development cooperation in aid agencies and ministries from around the world.

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