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On Global Public Goods: It’s Not Big Money but It’s a Big Breakthrough

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.

The State of Global Health Commodity Procurement: Moving from Data Points to the Bigger Picture

“Better data drive better decisions” is a truism that researchers everywhere are all too familiar with. Increasing the availability, usability, and relevance of data is key to tracking performance and informing smarter, more efficient policies—but too often the data we need simply aren’t available, at least not in a useful format. Recently, we’ve been exploring the availability of data (or lack thereof) related to global health commodity markets in the context of CGD’s working group on the Future of Global Health Procurement. To ground the working group’s recommendations, we’re trying to understand the current state of health commodity procurement in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)—specifically which commodities are procured, by whom, how, and at what price.

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous, but Necessary

CGD and Brookings recently co-hosted Former Finance Minister of Nigeria and Distinguished Fellow Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to discuss her new bookFighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines. The book is part memoir, part how-to, as she draws on her years of experience as Nigeria’s Finance Minister to describe the dangers of fighting corruption and how best to do it. I drew four main takeaways from our conversation.

The Next Billion Customers: Is Technology the Key to Closing the Global Gap in Financial Services?

Over 1.7 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked, but two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could easily connect them to the financial services they need. Governments could leverage digital payments to bring wages, pensions, and services directly to their beneficiaries. Private sector banks could provide digital accounts, loans, and savings devices to a new, previously unreached market. And these unbanked adults could have safe and secure methods to save, invest, and transfer money.

On the Equity-Friendly Property Tax: Time for Developing Countries to Invest?

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.

Will the UK Labour Party’s Big Idea of an Inequality Target Help or Hinder Development?

The UK Labour Party recently set out its ideas on international development in a paper titled “A World for the Many, Not the Few.” There is much to like in the policy paper, including pledges to put in place an effective whole-of-government development approach, to advance DFID’s monitoring of whether aid reaches the most vulnerable and excluded, and to communicate more honestly with UK taxpayers about the successes, challenges, and complexities of development. 

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