Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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Front cover of Zambia domestic resource mobilization paper
December 11, 2019

How Erratic Tax Policies Are Impeding Revenue Mobilization in Zambia

This case study assesses whether Zambia’s tax and fiscal policies have been impeded by political and technical constraints. Tax policy is a deliberate—yet intricate—process requiring not just well-measured choices, but also stability. Zambia has undertaken several tax reforms that have included broadening the tax base, establishing a revenue collection agency, and introducing a value-added tax (VAT). 

Ramos Emmanuel Mabugu and Eddie Rakabe
Front cover of IFAD analysis paper
November 12, 2019

Lending Terms for IFAD Projects

Donor support for agriculture development is not keeping pace with developing country demand or the need for finance implied by Sustainable Development Goal 2. In order to increase the overall volume of resources available for these needs, IFAD is pursuing a reform agenda that considers providing loans on harder terms to its client countries.

Scott Morris and Jessie Lu
The cover of the paper
October 23, 2019

Can the US Development Finance Corporation Compete?

The new US International Development Finance Corporation (USDFC) will be considerably larger than its predecessor, and it will also be more focused on low and lower middle income countries. It will have new tools to deliver but face expanded competition. 

Front cover of Charles Kenny's policy paper on five principles for DFIs
October 9, 2019

Five Principles for Use of Aid in Subsidies to the Private Sector

There is a significant and ongoing ramp-up in support for explicitly subsidized official development finance to the private sector around the world, but its role remains poorly defined. Lessons from the aid effectiveness literature as a whole and principles on effective use of aid suggest the need for approaches that do not merely finance the marginal private investment. 

Cover of Policy Paper 154
August 6, 2019

Digital Technology and State Capacity in Kenya

Following the launch of M-Pesa in 2007, Kenya has emerged as a global leader in the development of mobile money and in increasing rates of financial inclusion. This paper shows how M-Pesa’s success has led to a series of endogenous innovations that have shaped Kenya’s digital space, placing it ahead of other developing economies in the region in the deployment and use of digital technology.

Njuguna Ndung’u
Cover of Policy Paper 152
July 25, 2019

UK Research Aid: Tied, Opaque and Off-Topic?

The UK has considerably increased the amount of aid it spends on research in recent years. We suggest reporting reforms that will increase transparency and allow greater scrutiny of the way UK research aid is spent. We also call for the UK to live up to its reporting to the OECD that all British aid is untied. 

Cover of Policy Paper 149
July 11, 2019

Fuel Subsidy Reform and Green Taxes: Can Digital Technologies Improve State Capacity and Effectiveness?

Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. The paper outlines how the use of digital technology can help accomplishing those reforms, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward.

Cover of Policy Paper 148
July 2, 2019

Steps Toward Forest Landscape Restoration in The Context of The Rohingya Influx: Creating Opportunities to Advance Environmental, Humanitarian, and Development Progress in Bangladesh

There are now one million Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, comprising about 30 percent of the population. This increase, coupled with immediate needs for fuelwood and shelter, has diminished livelihoods due to deforestation and loss of access to land; soil and slope erosion; fuelwood scarcity and associated risks to safety of people collecting fuelwood; increased encroachment and forest degradation; declining water quality, groundwater reserve depletion, and air pollution; decreasing soil quality; and climate vulnerability.

Cover of Policy Paper 147
July 1, 2019

Transforming the Institutional Landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa: Considerations for Leveraging Africa’s Research Capacity to Achieve Socioeconomic Development

In order to achieve sustainable development outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, African institutions must be the leading experts on and primary providers of research solutions to local problems. We present for consideration three possible innovative models that can facilitate the emergence of strong Africa-based, Africa-led institutions: a multi-stakeholder funding platform, an integrator organization model, and a scale model.

Alex Ezeh and Jessie Lu
Cover of Policy Paper 146
June 12, 2019

Developing a More Inclusive US Trade Policy at Home and Abroad

US trade policy effectively discriminates against poorer countries. In addition, provisions in trade agreements that tilt the playing field in favor of business interests over those of American consumers and workers also often undermine development priorities in partner countries. American policymakers should rethink the substance and process of trade policy and negotiations to spread the benefits more broadly, at home and abroad.

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