Like the US, the World Bank needs its next president to save it—in this case from a slide into irrelevance and obscurity if this century’s new global challenges are not addressed head on.
CGD Policy Blogs
Finally, after many years, I understand how truly revolutionary Pratham is.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded last week to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, calls attention to sexual violence during war and civil conflicts—a horror too often unstated and wished away. There’s another largely hidden horror the world needs to reckon with: the toll that civil conflicts, some so local that they rarely make the news, takes on children.
There is much to cheer about in last week’s announcement by the World Bank’s shareholders to increase its paid-in capital by $13 billion. It is a healthy signal that multilateralism is alive and well, at least in the development space. And on a practical level it is sufficient to ensure that at a minimum World Bank lending to sovereign borrowers can be sustained at current levels, and private sector operations can continue to grow.
A large proportion of revenue gains over the last two decades has come from countries’ efforts to improve the design and compliance of consumption and other indirect taxes, particularly the VAT (value-added tax); in doing so, the objective has been to minimize VAT’s regressive effects by exempting sales of small businesses below a threshold (where the poor typically tend to buy) as well as imposing zero tax on certain food and other products which take up a large proportion of consumption of poor households. Less attention has gone to expanding the coverage of potentially more progressive taxes, such as personal income and property taxes.
I’m disappointed by the update. But I’m also hopeful. Here are three concrete issues that the group could raise regarding the MDBs.
Globalization of the economic sort is often maligned. But then there is globalism: of norms, values, culture, and attitudes. Are norms and values, even “culture”, being globalized? Is the idea, for example, that women have equal rights, as in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gaining ground as a universal norm? And might changing norms and values affect legal regimes and behavior (sometimes, maybe)?
Mohamed Bouazizi is the man whose protest sparked the Arab Spring in December 2010. Bouazizi was a typical “struggler,” as in the title of my keynote speech at the Australasian Aid conference several weeks ago: “Strugglers: This Century’s New Development Challenge.” Below is a rough summary of my talk.
Many of the world’s poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa have shown they can reform and improve governance. But the momentum is fizzling out. In a new round of tough reforms, African leaders will need to do the heavy lifting. Africa is still poor, and not yet able to finance the investments critical to a new round of growth and poverty reduction. Here’s what donors could do.
Measuring the Reproductive Ecosystem: Modern Contraception and Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World
Modern contraception may be the single most important technology for development—it liberates women to think ahead, as men have always been able to do. Last month, CGD hosted the Third Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women: “Reproductive Choices to Life Chances: New and Existing Evidence on the Impact of Contraception on Women’s Empowerment.” The conference featured presentations from some of the world’s top scholars.