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Construction workers building a railroad

What a Railway in Laos Can Tell Us about China’s Belt and Road

The Chinese-financed effort to build a national railway through Laos is a quintessential project of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is hard to get a fix on BRI these days, as it is invoked in ever-expanding geographic contexts (Latin America) and fields (poetry!). But the Lao railway seems to be at the core of the economic program that has shaped the initiative—a regional infrastructure project that aims to connect Chinese markets to those of other countries and ports in Southeast Asia. And it is well underway. So if we want to know whether BRI makes sense, or even just answer “how’s it going?”, there’s a lot we can learn by taking a closer look at this project.

CSAE conference topics

What’s the Latest Economics Research on Africa? A Round-up from the Center for the Study of African Economies 2019 Conference

Last week’s annual Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) conference brought together researchers from the African continent and around the world for the presentation of nearly 300 papers about nearly every aspect of African societies, from agriculture to education to firms to health to trade. Here I provide a micro-summary of almost every paper presented at the conference.

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Introducing the USDFC Monitor: A Q&A with OPIC's David Bohigian

CGD is pleased to introduce USDFC Monitor, a platform for information, reasoned analysis, practical recommendations, and evidence-based discussion of important issues that will face the United States’ new full-service development finance institution. Drawing inspiration from a similar endeavor launched by CGD to track and inform the early days of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, you can expect USDFC Monitor to provide a mix of timely commentary and in-depth analysis. 

To kick off, we posed three big questions to David Bohigian, Acting President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, about his expectations for the new agency.

Exaggerating Multinational Tax Avoidance Does Not Help Africa

Matti Kohonen of Christian Aid holds out the enticing prospect that African countries could collect an additional 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in tax if only big multinationals would stop dodging. The problem is that this estimate is (still) based on wishful thinking. Multinational corporations should pay tax, but the scale of potential revenues depend on underlying levels of investment and profitability in a country. 

Stock photo of various currencies

How Will Donors Spend $170 Billion This Year and Next?

In 2019-20, donors will commit roughly $170 billion of public funding to an alphabet soup of international aid organisations, many of which their citizens may never have heard of. Each replenishment will be considered as a separate exercise, ignoring the reality that they are competing for limited donor resources.

Figure 3. Number of IDFC institutions active within each SDG

The Biggest Club You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

SDGs. Billions to trillions. South-South development cooperation. Development finance. If these terms resonate with you (positively or negatively), and you’ve never heard of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), you should rectify that. At least, that’s the conclusion we’ve drawn after a year-long study of the IDFC and its member institutions. This work has culminated in a new CGD report, The International Development Finance Club and the Sustainable Development Goals: Impact, Opportunities, and Challenges

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