Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

The International Finance Facility for Education: The Wrong Answer to the Right Question?

Donors are considering a proposal for a new “innovative finance mechanism” to increase funding for education, based on recommendations from Gordon Brown’s Education Commission. We agree that we need to finance an expansion of education in the developing world. But sadly, the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) proposal is too good to be true. Using donor guarantees to increase lending by multilateral banks could increase the supply of loans—but there are simpler ways to do that without setting up a new facility.

tropical forest

A Global Offer to Reduce Deforestation: $5 Billion a Year for 20 Years

When it comes to measuring development impacts, nothing beats forests. With ever-improving satellite monitoring technology, measuring global forest cover is each year easier, cheaper, and more accurate. Which means that—whatever you want to call it (pay for performance, results-based aid)—rewarding tropical forest countries for preserving their forests, and for their climate and development benefits, is becoming easier and more accurate.

Refugees Are a Boon Not a Burden: Here’s How to Get the Best Results for Everyone

We need to stop talking about refugees as if they are burden to be shared. Refugees benefit both economy and the community—and if we invested more and better in giving them a good start, they would be able to make an even bigger contribution. Here we suggest innovative finance mechanisms to pay for that investment without putting pressure on public finances, instead enabling refugees to develop and apply their skills, integrate effectively, and improve their overall contribution.
 

Reducing Poverty in India with the Power of Digital Payments and UBI

Demonetization is yesterday’s news. The India of today is going full steam ahead towards a digital economy powered by financial inclusion, the mobile revolution, and Aadhaar—the biometric ID system that now covers 90 percent of its 1.3 billion population. And the social compact of the future will restructure subsidies and provide a basic income for the poor.

Can Payment for Results Repair Political Accountability Relations?

When people hear that a foreign aid program is paying for results, they can think about it in two very different ways. Some people think that paying for results is a way to control recipients, making them more strictly accountable to the people or organizations that are paying them. Others think that paying for results is a way to give recipients more autonomy and encourage them to be accountable to their beneficiaries (in the case of service providers) or their constituents (in the case of governments). It turns out that both perspectives are right—depending on just how the program that pays for results is designed.

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

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. 

An Insider’s Perspective on Delivering a DIB

No one said creating development impact bonds (DIB) was going to be easy, but that hasn’t stopped the development community from trying to get them off the ground. The Fred Hollows Foundation, based in Australia, has been hard at work on a DIB to address cataract blindness in Africa. As the Foundation attracts partners to help fund and implement a pilot of the cataract bond, Dr. Lachlan McDonald, the Foundation’s senior health economist, and Alex Rankin, their Global Lead for Policy, Advocacy & Research, shared some lessons learned so far. With Lachlan and Alex’s permission, we’re turning some of those lessons over to you – we hope they’re useful to others seeking to move ahead with their own DIB.

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