It’s time for the MDBs to launch a realistic program for financing African infrastructure—a program that is appropriate for the realities of the region and the urgency of its infrastructure needs, writes Gyude Moore.
CGD Policy Blogs
The 2018 FOCAC Summit will open tomorrow in Beijing. There is much speculation about the size of the investment package China will unveil at the summit. It appears, however, that we are in a new phase of Chinese financing. A combination of domestic and international pressures will likely alter China’s extensive lending program—African states that have relied on this lifeline must adjust to the new reality.
Last week, the World Meteorological Organization announced Ethiopia as the location of its new Regional Office for Africa. The office will be hosted in the headquarters of Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency, a one billion birr complex expected to be constructed over the next few years to meet increasing demands in Africa for reliable weather and climate services.
While donor countries have poured significant resources into branding aid—emblazing a donor’s flag or aid agency logo on everything from food aid to bridges—the benefits of branding are iffy at best and counterproductive at worst. Studies of its impact tend to pay little attention to how branding affects the relationship between recipient governments and their publics, but evidence shows that it can have corrosive systemic impacts.
A recent blog post by Ricardo Hausmann caught my eye because it addresses issues that I’ll be focusing on during my visiting fellowship here at the Center for Global Development. Hausmann—a former Venezuelan minister of planning—discusses the difficulty of closing the infrastructure gap in developing countries, and highlights the dilemma of whether governments should finance infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships or through their national budgets. He’s right about the dilemma, but his solution isn’t workable for fragile and low-income countries where infrastructure needs are greatest.