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Interior view of World Bank HQ

Reforming World Bank Aid to the Private Sector for Greater Competition and Transparency

Chairwoman of the US House Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters' recent intervention provides an opportunity for the Bank Group to rethink the Private Sector Window to better align with the International Finance Corporation’s 3.0 reform process, which was designed to increase the Corporation’s development impact, move toward making markets, and improve standards. At the same time, reform could allow the PSW to live up to the Multilateral Development Bank Principles to support sustainable private sector operations.

Cape Town at morning rush hour

Anarchy Undelivered

Twenty-five years ago, travel writer and journalist Robert Kaplan wrote an article for The Atlantic, headlined “The Coming Anarchy.” It was an apocalyptic account of Kaplan’s visit to West Africa and his dark vision that much of the world would end up looking like war-torn Sierra Leone. Kaplan suggested recently that he thought “The Coming Anarchy” had stood the test of time. I disagree, and think the fact that Kaplan was wrong matters: global jeremiads are a force for isolationism. I discussed why with The Atlantic’s Matthew Peterson on a new podcast.  

 
The World Bank Group's headquarters

Congress Spotlights the World Bank’s Private Sector Subsidies

Yesterday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing with US Secretary of the Treasury Stephen Mnuchin on the international financial system. Chairwoman Maxine Waters opened the session with a strong statement on the World Bank’s $2.5 billion IDA Private Sector Window (PSW). Chairwoman Waters raises important concerns with the Private Sector Window that should be urgently addressed.

A Female Nigerian AMISOM Police Officer seen standing during a medal award ceremony. Photo by Ilyas Ahmed/AMISOM Public Information.

The Elsie Fund: Good News for UN Peacekeeping

Today, the UN and Canada are launching the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations. The fund will accelerate the deployment of trained and qualified women in peacekeeping. It is a fantastic goal and the fund has an exciting design.

Riyadh

Firms that Profit off Gender Apartheid Must Be Held Accountable

I wrote last week that with an Administration and Congress both prioritizing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, now was a good time to put in place legislation that would leverage the power of US-based multinational enterprises to encourage gender equality in the workplace in countries that legally enforced discrimination. A recent case of US-based multinational enterprises abetting discrimination suggests an extension to the law, and the creation of the new US Development Finance Corporation provides a new tool for the legislation to use.

A woman working at a stall in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage, via imagesofempowerment.org

Leveraging American Enterprise to Deliver Women’s Global Development and Prosperity

Today, the Trump administration rolled out the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). Pillars one and two seem to suggest a rebranding of existing funding for women’s economic empowerment efforts in USAID and a repackaging of previously announced initiatives at the World Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation. But the third pillar is potentially more encouraging.

pen on document

A Review of the Mid-Term Review of the IDA Private Sector Window

A few weeks ago, the World Bank’s soft-lending arm IDA held the mid-term review of its 18th round of funding. As background for the meeting, the World Bank produced a status update of the new IDA Private Sector Window (PSW) that I have blogged about before. The update provides valuable insight into how the $2.5 billion of PSW funding is being used at the halfway mark of its spending cycle but leaves some big unknowns.

Sounds Robotic logo

Introducing “Sounds Robotic: A CGD Podcast”

CGD’s Study Group on Technology, Comparative Advantage, and Development Prospects is looking at current technology trends, including those around automation and artificial intelligence, and thinking through what they might imply for global economic growth and the distribution of income into the future. As part of that effort, and alongside meetings, papers, and blogs, we are launching a series of podcasts with Study Group members and other experts called Sounds Robotic.

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