Many prominent people have advocated that the IMF undertake an “SDR allocation” to assist countries in dealing with the global financial crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. If IMF shareholders show some leadership and bureaucratic flexibility, there are ways to allay the American government’s concerns and quickly get liquidity in the hands of countries who desperately need it.
Around the turn of the century, there was a broad recognition that the debt burden of many developing countries was impeding their growth. Much of the debt had accumulated in the context of the Cold War and had not resulted in productive investment.
Adapted from a seminar with the IMF and climate experts that CGD co-sponsored with the European Climate Foundation, this note looks at the role that the IMF can take to help tackle climate change.
In May 2018, the shareholders of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)—the private sector arm of the World Bank—agreed to increase its paid-in capital by $5.5 billion as part of the $13 billion capital increase for the World Bank Group (WBG). The US administration agreed to the increase but declined to contribute to the additional capital. But for the increase to take effect, Congress must authorize it. Thus far, it has not done so. Why?
In the Harry Potter novels, a magic hat decides which of four school houses new pupils should join. Development finance institutions (DFIs) need something like that when trying to decide which private firms to subsidise, although applicants only need sorting into two groups: firms that are doing something socially valuable and which genuinely require a subsidy, and firms that are merely trying their luck to get a subsidy for a project they would undertake in any case.
Even with international assistance, the cost of providing refuge to so many people has strained the budget of the Jordanian government. At the same time, international partners, notably the IMF, have been insisting that Jordan take actions to bring down government debt to “more sustainable levels” through increasing fiscal discipline to tame government deficits. These dual imperatives by the international community—host more refugees and tame the budget—seem to put Jordan in an untenable situation as long as the refugee crisis continues. Something will have to give—the question is how, what, and when?