We need to move forward—or backward—in what we expect development finance institutions (DFIs) to do in terms of financing private sector development in the world’s poorest countries.
CGD Policy Blogs
In a surprise move Tuesday, the US Treasury announced its intention to nominate Mauricio Claver-Carone to the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a role traditionally held by a citizen of a borrowing member country from the region.
More World Bank Borrowers Will Need Grants, Not Loans. As a Result, More World Bank Donors Will Need to Pony Up
Rather than providing relief on repayments from existing loans, IDA’s debt sustainability framework adjusts future financing from loans to grants for countries at high risk of debt distress. But what happens to IDA’s loans-to-grants model when a large number of IDA countries trigger the risk thresholds? Can IDA afford its commitment to debt sustainability?
With a Debt Crisis Looming, Researchers Who Estimated China’s “Hidden” Lending Respond to Their Critics
Last year, economists Sebastian Horn, Carmen Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch put forward estimates of the Chinese government’s external (“overseas”) lending in a working paper. Their work was a landmark effort in a number of respects. Perhaps not surprisingly for a working paper, Horn et al. also attracted critics. In a new note for CGD, Horn et al. respond to this criticism.
Let’s unpack our arguments for why a debt standstill would be the wrong move for IDA at this point in time.
Calling All Official Bilateral Creditors to Poor Countries: Switch to IDA Concessional Terms as Part of COVID-19 Response
Overall public debt in IDA countries has risen rapidly since before the global financial crisis; and while debt to private creditors (mostly in the form of bonds or bank loans) has increased, the biggest increases have come from multilateral and official bilateral credits.
We are so accustomed to the Chinese government’s lack of transparency that the opaqueness of China’s overseas loans seems unremarkable at this point. But as we face what inevitably looks like a global debt crisis, one that is likely to hit low-income countries particularly hard, a clear accounting of the scale of the problem is critical.
In new research, we find that China’s role as a creditor has likely been a key driver of more burdensome lending terms in the form of higher interest rates, shorter maturities, and shorter grace periods for lower-income countries.
Measuring the Impact of Coronavirus on Global SMEs: A Survey Instrument in Chinese, English, and Spanish
To better understand the toll of coronavirus, Xiaobo Zhang led a nationwide SME survey in China. In the interest of promoting further efforts in other countries, we are publishing the original Chinese-language survey, English- and Spanish-language versions, and a technical note from Zhang about the details of the survey in China.
In retrospect, the scale up in MDB financing during the 2008-2010 crisis, though significant, now looks conservative as we consider the potential scale of damage from the current COVID-19 pandemic. To put the question bluntly, if the human and economic devastation follows a worst-case scenario, just how much could the MDBs do to respond? We attempt to answer that question by assessing the legal, rather than prudential, constraints on MDB lending.