Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? (Brief)

This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending, convened in fall 2006 to investigate the effect of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on health spending in low-income countries. The report offers clear, practical recommendations for improvements—for the IMF, the World Bank, the governments of countries working within IMF programs, and civil society organizations.

David Goldsbrough
July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? Evidence and an Agenda For Action

This report of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending explores the controversy that surrounds IMF-supported programs in low-income countries and their effect on the health sector. Critics contend that programs unduly constrain health spending though macroeconomic, especially fiscal, policies that are too restrictive towards government spending and wage bill ceilings preventing a scaling up of the health workforce. The working group, chaired by CGD visiting fellow David Goldsbrough, examined the evidence through detailed case studies and cross-country data to make recommendations for the IMF and other relevant actors. They urge the IMF to explore a broader range of options on the fiscal deficit and government spending; clarify the role of the IMF with regards to aid projections; constrain the use of wage bill ceilings to very specific circumstances; and give greater emphasis to the smoothing of expenditures.

David Goldsbrough
June 27, 2007

The Chinese Aid System

Chinese foreign aid is rising fast and Western aid agencies are concerned: will Chinese aid undermine efforts to promote reform in Africa and elsewhere? Will Chinese loans burden poor countries with fresh debt? In this new essay, CGD visiting fellow Carol Lancaster provides a concise and accessible overview of what is known--and not known--about the Chinese aid system. She advises aid agencies in Europe, North America and Japan to increase communication and to seek opportunities for collaboration with Beijing.

Carol Lancaster
April 9, 2007

What Have IMF Programs With Low-Income Countries Assumed About Aid Flows? - Working Paper 116

This paper examines IMF projections of donor aid to low-income countries and whether these projections changed after world leaders pledged at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 summit to double aid to Africa by 2010. The authors find that IMF projections since the post-Gleneagles Summit have shown little change for countries in sub-Saharan Africa: only two out of 30 such projections showed increases consistent with the commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010. The authors also explore the role of IMF aid projections and argue for greater clarity about the role of the IMF in the aid architecture.

David Goldsbrough and Ben Elberger
March 8, 2007

Do No Harm: Aid, Weak Institutions, and the Missing Middle in Africa - Working Paper 113

Does aid to Africa undermine the emergence of a robust African middle class? If so, what can be done about it? In this new working paper, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argues that high and unpredictable aid flows could be making life harder for Africa's small and medium-sized businesses by, for example, inflating wages and making governments less reliant on domestic revenue—and hence less accountable to taxpayers. She urges that donors systematically monitor such impacts in aid-dependent countries and suggests ways that aid could help to bolster Africa's crucial but fragile middle-income groups. Learn more

November 6, 2006

China's Export-Import Bank and Africa: New Lending, New Challenges

China's bid for a leading role in Africa gained sudden visibility on the weekend with an unprecedented gathering of leaders from 48 African countries in Beijing. Chinese president Hu Jintao pledged to double aid and to offer $5 billion in loans by 2009. China's newly high-profile overtures towards Africa have raised eyebrows—and a fair bit of anxiety—among Africa’s traditional development partners. Will Chinese lending lead to a new African debt crisis? In a new CGD Note, senior fellow Todd Moss and research assistant Sarah Rose examine the growing clout of a little-known instrument of China's Africa policy, the Export-Import Bank of China, and offer some advice for the West. Learn more

September 22, 2006

Fixing International Financial Institutions: How Africa Can Lead the Way

In this CGD Note, CGD vice president Dennis de Tray and senior fellow Todd Moss argue that international financial institutions should transform their boards of resident executive directors into non-resident, non-executive bodies. Doing so would force the governing bodies to focus on their core responsibilities, increase accountability and reduce costs of all kinds. They urge the African Development Bank to go first. Learn more

Dennis de Tray and Todd Moss
September 7, 2006

Building Africa's Development Bank: Six Recommendations for the AfDB and its Shareholders

Donald Kaberuka, the new president of the African Development Bank, leads an institution whose financial standing has been restored from the near collapse of 1995, but whose operational credibility remains a work-in-progress. This CGD working group report offers external, independent advice to Kaberuka and the Bank's board of directors on broad principles to guide the Bank’s renewal. The report contains six bold yet achievable recommendations for management and shareholders as they address the urgent task of reforming Africa's development bank. Prominent among the recommendations is a strong focus on infrastructure.

The AfDB Working Group
July 11, 2006

A Policymakers' Guide to Dutch Disease - Working Paper 91

It is sometimes claimed that big surges in aid might cause Dutch Disease--an appreciation of the real exchange rate which can slow the growth of a country's exports--and that aid increases might thereby harm a country's long-term growth prospects. In this new working paper CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that it is unlikely that a long-term, sustained and predictable increase in aid would, through the impact on the real exchange rate, do more harm than good. Learn more

June 26, 2006

Competitive Proliferation of Aid Projects: A Model - Working Paper 89

When aid projects proliferate, donors often seek better oversight through smaller projects. While this may improve administration, it burdens recipient governments with reporting requirements and donor visits. CGD research fellow David Roodman suggests in a new working paper that big projects are best for countries that get more aid, have better governance, or have less revenue. He also shows how donors who care most about their own success tend to divide their aid portfolios into more, smaller projects to draw the recipient's resources away from other donors. This reduces development. Learn more

June 15, 2006

U.S. Assistance for Global Development

U.S. "development assistance" refers to the transfer of resources from the United States to developing countries and to some strategic allies. It is delivered in the form of money (via loans or grants), contributions of goods (such as food aid), and technical assistance. Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

January 19, 2006

A New Era at the Inter-American Development BankSix Recommendations for the New President

This new report by a group comprising several of Latin America's most influential economic policymakers, CGD senior fellow Liliana Rojas Suarez, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall suggests ways for the IDB to become more flexible and to step up its support for market oriented reforms. The IDB's new president, Luis Alberto Moreno, warmly endorsed the recommendations, calling them "a key agenda."

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April 1, 2005

Resolving Nigeria’s Debt Through a Discounted Buyback

Nigeria has $33 billion in external debt. The government has been trying unsuccessfully for years to cut a deal with creditors to reduce its external obligations but to date has only managed to gain non-concessional restructuring. The major creditors also have good reasons for wanting to seek a resolution, yet agreement has been elusive. Fortunately, there is a brief window of opportunity in 2005 to find a compromise that can meet the needs of both sides. This note briefly outlines a proposal for striking such a deal through a discounted debt buyback.

May 1, 2004

The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success - Working Paper 40

*REVISED Version September 2004

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.

November 1, 2003

Who is not Poor? Proposing a Higher International Standard for Poverty - Working Paper 33

Poverty reduction is now, and quite properly should remain, the primary objective of the World Bank. But, when the World Bank dreams of a world free of poverty—what should it be dreaming? I argue in this essay that the dream should be a bold one, that treats citizens of all nations equally in defining poverty, and that sets a high standard for what eliminating poverty will mean for human well-being.

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