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Brazil trade graph

Will Brazil Retreat from Its Role in International Development?

Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has been characterised as an unsavoury anti-globalist—so, will he unwind Brazil’s progress as a development actor over the last two decades? Below, I will highlight Brazil’s important contributions to international development, and argue that Bolsonaro’s best bid to eliminate corruption, restore trust in government institutions, and reinstate the country’s path of prosperity is to finalise Brazil’s OECD membership—becoming its second biggest member by population—while also strengthening partnerships and commitments to fast growing markets in the Global South.

virus

Financing Outbreak Preparedness: Where Are We and What Next?

This week, global leaders gathered at the 5th Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meetings in Bali under the overarching theme of “advancing global partnerships” for greater health security. Alongside this event, the World Bank hosted a discussion on preparedness financing at the country level. The panel acknowledged that while countries have begun to pay more attention to pandemic preparedness, much work remains to increase domestic and donor support to national preparedness systems. As the discussions wrap up in Bali and the World Bank heads to its IDA18 midterm review in Zambia next week, we share a few thoughts.

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Don’t Let Development Finance Institutions Water Down Principles on Subsidizing Private Companies

In my last blog post on the IDA Private Sector Window, I noted the strong principles on subsidies to the private sector that were agreed by the heads of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) in 2012 as part of the Multilateral Development Bank Principles to Support Sustainable Private Sector Operations. Those principles can be summarized as “start with the public policy problem, use open offers or competitive approaches, maximize transparency.” It is interesting to compare the MDB principles to the principles which later emerged from the DFI Working Group on Blended Concessional Finance for Private Sector Projects.

 
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Answering the World Bank’s $75 Billion Question

Next week in Zambia, donors to the World Bank’s financing window for low-income countries, the International Development Association (IDA), meet to discuss IDA’s future. This “mid-term review” is both a stocktaking session and a teeing up of the next round of fundraising for the world’s largest concessional lending fund. Formal negotiations will commence next year, but the meetings in Zambia set the scene for those negotiations.

road through forest

China’s “Green” Belt and Road Initiative Isn’t Very Green

What would it look like today if major multilateral finance institutions like the World Bank had never adopted the climate agenda as a binding constraint on their operations? Unfortunately, we have a real-world approximation of that hypothetical in the form of Chinese development finance. At least, that’s a conclusion I draw from an important new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) and Boston University, Moving the Green Belt and Road Initiative: From Words to Actions.

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Entrepreneurship on the Rise in the Medical Supply Chain in Africa: A Tale of Four Pharmacy Disruptors

The IFC estimates that by 2030, developing countries will need up to $210 billion per year in new investment for health care assets to meet the growing healthcare demands of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will require the current level of investment in healthcare in developing markets to triple. What may be almost as important as the money itself, however, is the prospective opportunity to catalyze the entrepreneurial spirit that is seeping its way into African markets. Here we look at how this entrepreneurialism is being leveraged in the pharmacy and supply chain space.

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Addressing the Gender Gap in Senior Staffing at the United Nations

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said gender equality at the United Nations is “an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.” Guterres was quick to meet his goal of gender parity in UN senior management. But 18 years past an initial 2000 target date for gender parity in the UN system as a whole, there is still a long way to go. The organization remains off track to meet the new target for parity at all levels by 2030. There is also evidence that the rate of change will be hard to boost without a new approach.

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Mobile Money: An Opportunity for Development and Governance in Rural Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is now ranked by the World Bank as a lower-middle-income country, largely due to mining-related income. Yet, stepping into remote villages in the South Fly District of Western Province, along the southern border with Australia, one is viscerally confronted with the lack of national expenditure or international finances in the region. Whether understood as corruption, rent-seeking, leakage, profit margins, or the high personnel costs of expatriate aid programs, surprisingly little PNG government, international aid, or global mining investment actually reaches these villages

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