Ghana’s recent recalculation of its GDP led to an overnight $500 per capita jump, putting in motion unexpectedly rapid graduation from the International Development Association (IDA) and ultimately a new relationship with the World Bank. In this week’s Wonkcast, I speak with Todd Moss, vice president for programs and senior fellow at CGD, about his recent trip to the newly categorized lower-middle income country, the implications of IDA graduation, and a sudden influx of oil wealth.
CGD Policy Blogs
Andy Sumner and I recently wrote about the fact that the number of low income countries in the world is rapidly shrinking –which is great news because it suggests poor countries are getting richer. But how much does graduating to ‘middle income’ mean? Here’s how the original income classification came about, according to the World Bank’s website:
On Saturday the world’s newest nation exuberantly celebrated its first independence day. The Republic of South Sudan, an area the size of Texas that is home to eight million people, has finally fulfilled its long-sought goal of freedom and self-determination. Independence however, is just the beginning.
Every year, billions of dollars are spent on food assistance to provide lifesaving sustenance to millions of people. That’s a lot of money, and an important cause, so it was encouraging to learn last week that the United States and the G-20 are starting to seriously scrutinize food aid policy. Recent developments in Washington and Paris show a growing consensus that it’s about time to overhaul outdated approaches to feeding the hungry.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of co-chairing, with research fellow Ben Leo, a CGD event on the priorities and prospects of the G-20’s recently adopted development agenda. The two panels focused on African infrastructure and global food security, the central pillars of France’s development agenda for the upcoming G-20 Summit in Cannes.
Rapid changes in the world, especially the remarkable growth of so many once-poor countries and the revolutions sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, will have tremendous consequences for institutions like the World Bank. The Bank-Fund Spring Meetings start next week and it’s a chance for shareholders and Bank management to check-in and throw issues on the table. Among the many big trends and questions about the future of the Bank, here are a few on my mind:
In times of fiscal constraint, the U.S. Government should be maximizing those development and policy instruments that don’t require congressional appropriations. Top of this list should be the many private sector tools, such as Overseas Private Investment Corporation. OPIC not only helps to crowd-in private investment and build markets abroad, but it is a net positive for the US budget (the FY11 budget request estimates OPIC will contribute $189 million).
Two recent events make it extremely timely for senior policymakers to focus more on how to bolster and get more out of our private sector tools: