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CGD in the News

February 13, 2019

Ivanka Trump Launches $50 Million Program To Empower Women In The Workplace (NPR)

From the article:

First daughter Ivanka Trump wants to help 50 million women around the world "realize their economic potential" by 2025.

Experts who work with women's issues in the global development community are hopeful about the new initiative – but raise questions about the timing of the announcement and the lack of specifics.


Nancy Lee, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former U.S. Treasury official, says the initiative could be truly transformative if it actually brings women's issues to the forefront of all development efforts – whether that means including women in the efforts of farmers to bring food to market or inviting them to be leaders in a peace-building efforts.

February 7, 2019

Ivanka Trump’s plan pledges $50 million of USAID money to pull 50 million women from poverty (Washington Post)

From the article:

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the president and a senior White House adviser, announced a new global effort Thursday to help 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

“This new initiative will for the first time coordinate America’s commitment to one of the most undervalued resources in the developing world — the talent, ambition and genius of women,” Trump wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that announced the news. For the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, the U.S. government will team up with several private companies such as UPS and Pepsi to “facilitate complementary private-sector investments to achieve our shared goals,” Trump said.


“$1 per woman, or rather $0.02 per woman, once you subtract the money WalMart and others will spend on glossy, self-congratulatory advertisements,” Brad Simpson, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, wrote on Twitter.

“If you ever doubted the Trump Administration’s belief in aid effectiveness, think again: the new Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative provides $50m a year from USAID to economically empower 50 million women worldwide by 2025,” Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at a Center for Global Development, wrote in his own tweet. “That’s just a dollar a year each!” Kenny added.

Nancy Lee, a former U.S. Treasury official who is now a fellow at the Center for Global Development, agreed that the $50 million in initial government funding is notably small, but she said she hoped that it could have a larger effect.

“Most important is to firmly embed empowering women across the programs of all of the agencies that are supposed to work together under this initiative,” Lee said. "If agencies actually have to look at how each project can boost benefits for women and girls and measure results carefully and consistently, that would truly transform U.S. development practice.”

January 31, 2019

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim bows out as the development lender looks for relevance (Deutsche Welle)

From the article:

Jim Yong Kim is officially leaving as president of the World Bank on February 1. His departure comes three years ahead of schedule and reveals the lender's confusion about its role in a globalized world.


And how much can multilateral development banks raise in total? The Center for Global Development has estimated that all of them put together — not just the World Bank but also regional lenders such as the Asian Development Bank — can spend about $116 billion a year, out of which only about $45 billion is earmarked for infrastructure investment.

January 8, 2019

Is It Time to Give Up on the World Bank? (Bloomberg)

From the article:

The truth is that Kim isn’t wrong. The World Bank has simply not been effective enough at what is supposed to be its core task: mobilizing funds for infrastructure investment in poorer countries. The financial gap that emerging markets have to bridge is huge; between $1 trillion and 1.5 trillion annually is needed for investment in infrastructure. And how much can multilateral development banks raise in total? All of them put together — not just the World Bank but also regional MDBs such as the Asian Development Bank — can spend about $116 billion a year, according to the Center for Global Development’s Nancy Lee. Worse, only about $45 billion of that goes into infrastructure investment.

Now, one response to this problem could be to capitalize these banks better. But, as we’re likely to discover in the battle between the Trump administration and the rest of the world that is now inevitable after Kim’s resignation, the U.S. isn’t terribly interested in multilateral institutions such as the World Bank. (This is a striking contrast to China, which is looking to scale up the institutions it dominates, such as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank.) So, more money for the World Bank is out — and even if it were committed, it wouldn’t come close to addressing the “infrastructure deficit” that Kim talks about.

July 25, 2018

The eight virtues of highly effective DFIs (Development Finance Magazine)

By Nancy Lee 

Amid much discussion of SDG finance gaps, development finance institutions (DFIs), both bilateral and multilateral, are in the spotlight as the most important publicly funded instruments for mobilising private capital.

Yet, there is a surprising lack of clarity on what we can and should expect from DFIs, beyond broad goals of profitability and development impact. The following proposes some operational principles that help set standards for DFI success.  No existing institution deploys them all, though many are moving in the right direction. The point of the list is to highlight that important changes are needed in DFIs’ business models. With such changes, I believe a strong case can be made to expand their capital and operations. 

Read the full article here.

May 24, 2018

MDB Private Finance Operations: Lenders or Mobilisers? (ECDPM)

Much is expected of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) as the international community confronts the daunting challenge of financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MDBs, especially their private sector windows (PSWs), are rightly regarded as essential actors in the challenge of moving from billions to the trillions of dollars of private finance necessary to fill yawning SDG finance gaps.

Read the full article here

January 19, 2018

Opinion: We Had High Hopes For Private Finance And The SDGs. Was Our Optimism Unfounded? (Devex)

From the article: 

Many were optimistic when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 that the private sector — and domestic resource mobilization — would fund much of the investment needed to achieve these goals — especially as public aid flows stagnate. As 2018 begins, we would do well to reassess these optimistic projections for private finance for development, and ask are the “billions to trillions” materializing?

The data and trends to date are far from encouraging. Global cross-border private capital flows remain depressed — 6 percent of global gross domestic product in 2016 compared to 22 percent in 2007. Low income countries continue to receive a minimal share — 1.7 percent in 2016 — of total private capital flows to developing countries. World Bank data show that the volume of infrastructure investment with private participation in developing countries is down sharply from over $210 billion in 2012 to $76 billion in 2016. And the poorest International Development Association countries capture very little of these flows: Less than 4 percent from 2011-2015.
For the private sector windows, or PSWs, of the multilateral development banks, these limited private flows are both a test and an opportunity. They, and bilateral development finance institutions, were conceived as the original impact investors, helping to unlock private investment with both commercial returns and development impact.
Yet, based on their business volume, MDBs can fairly be regarded as marginal actors. Their annual commitments to both the public and private sectors totaled $118 billion in 2016, compared to estimated annual finance gaps of $2-2.5 trillion for SDG investments, and $1-1.5 trillion for infrastructure investments in developing countries.
June 27, 2008

A Plan B for Deepening Economic Ties in the Americas (Washington Post Online)

The online edition of the Washington Post features CGD visiting fellow Nancy Lee's proposal for regional integration in Latin America.

From the article:

"It may be time to try Plan B. Nancy Lee, former deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere at the Treasury Department, contends that rather than striving for an all-encompassing trade agreement, the region should get more of its fundamentals in order and pursue a narrower goal. In a chapter for the forthcoming book 'The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President,' to be published by the Washington-based Center for Global Development, Lee proposes a regional agreement to improve the hemisphere's investment climate.

Such an agreement would establish standards for doing business in the Americas, a region where many countries are far behind the average global standard. It would aim, for instance, to reduce burdens on private entrepreneurs by simplifying processes to start up a business, pay taxes, clear customs and access credit.


Read the article