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Views from the Center

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An image of 3 percent

Three Percent is a Big Difference

There is a little-noticed but important difference between the World Bank’s original goal for poverty reduction and the first of the subsequent UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG1).  The difference is that the Bank’s goal was to reach a 3 percent poverty rate by 2030, while the SDG1 is to “eradicate” poverty by 2030, where “eradicate” means zero. Yet that 3 percent could well make a big difference

Chart showing estimates for additional spending by 2030

Tax Revenues in Africa Will be Insufficient to Finance Development Goals

The IMF estimates that on average, low-income countries (LIC) will need additional resources amounting to 15.4 percent of GDP to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education, health, roads, electricity, and water by 2030. These resource requirements are even greater in sub-Saharan Africa than in a typical LIC: the median sub-Saharan African country faces additional spending of about 19 percent of GDP. In the average LIC, the IMF estimates that of the required additional financing, 5 percentage points of GDP would have to come from domestic taxes.

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.

The exterior of UN plaza

Financing Development: A “Common but Differentiated” Path to 0.7%

Ministers are gathering at the UN this week to discuss the financing needs to meet the Global Goals—with the challenge that resources will clearly fall short, not least because most high-income countries are still failing to meet their financial commitments. We reviewed the pathways taken by the countries that agreed to the UN 0.7 percent target on overseas development assistance as a share of national income, and find that—perhaps unsurprisingly—aid as a share of the economy rises with per capita income.