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The World Bank recently released the results of two separate surveys aimed at gauging the extent to which de-risking is a problem. The headline result is that banks around the world are closing accounts of money transfer organizations (MTOs) and are severing links with banks in other countries. These careful, timely reports provide crucial evidence that de-risking is a very real phenomenon and that we should be worried about it.
Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential.
Last Thursday, Under Secretary of the US Treasury Nathan Sheets spoke at CGD about anti–money laundering policies and the problem of de-risking, in connection with the launch of a new CGD working group report on the unintended consequences of anti–money laundering policies for poor countries. Sheets’s comments were consistent with the report’s key recommendations including the need for better data and for clearer guidance from financial regulators and standards setters.
Next week, the G-20 Leaders will meet in Antalya, Turkey, to continue their conversation about the importance of financial inclusion in achieving strong, sustainable, balanced economic growth. One item on the agenda will be the cost of remittances. In 2009, G-8 Leaders set a goal of reducing remittance costs to 5 percent within 5 years, roughly a 5 percentage point decrease.
At last, a glimmer of hope in Europe’s refugee crisis: on Sunday 25 October, the European Commission released a 17-point plan to manage refugee flows along the Western Balkans route. The agreement is a welcome sign of political progress. However, the policy prescriptions fall far short of the wide-ranging, creative, long-term plan necessary. An effective refugee strategy requires a more holistic approach on three dimensions: space, institutions and time.
The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.
Bridge International Academies is an innovative education start-up working to provide schooling in some of Kenya's poorest urban areas (and, more recently, Uganda and Nigeria). The company is intensely focused on keeping overheads low, standardising everything from school buildings through lesson plans.
GREAT Britain is a slogan increasingly visible around the world – it is the hallmark of the UK government’s international campaign which features the best Great Britain has to offer and aims to present the country as a global leader in business, innovation, culture and so on. In terms of development, Great Britain (the country not the slogan) can take pride: it is the only G20 country to live up to its commitment to provide 0.7% of national income for development assistance.
The High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers published its report this week, concluding that the international system should take deliberate steps to seize two big opportunities to improve humanitarian aid.