Ideas to Action:

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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.

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 142
May 17, 2019

The Kunming-Vientiane Railway: The Economic, Procurement, Labor, and Safeguards Dimensions of a Chinese Belt and Road Project

The Kunming-Vientiane railway is an anchor investment of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road initiative. This case study will assess the rail project along four dimensions: economic implications; procurement arrangements; labor; and environmental and social safeguards. In each of these areas, evidence from the railway project suggests that Chinese policy and practice could be better aligned with the practices of other sources of multilateral and bilateral development finance.

Cover of Policy Paper 137
February 5, 2019

The Two Hundred Billion Dollar Question: How to Get the Biggest Impact from the 2019 Replenishments

In 2019/2020 donor governments are anticipated to pledge up to $170 billion to various multilateral organisations as part of their replenishment cycles. This unusual bunching of replenishments of some of the largest organisations in 2019 provides an opportunity to think more coherently about multilateral funding and to address key systemic problems, such as overlapping mandates and under-funding of some parts of the system.

Cover of Policy Paper 121
March 4, 2018

Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective

China’s Belt and Road Initiative hopes to deliver trillions of dollars in infrastructure financing to Asia, Europe, and Africa. This paper assesses the likelihood of debt problems in the 68 countries identified as potential BRI borrowers. We conclude that eight countries are at particular risk of debt distress based on an identified pipeline of project lending associated with BRI. 

John Hurley , Scott Morris and Gailyn Portelance
Cover of Policy Paper 115
January 17, 2018

Inside the Portfolio of the International Finance Corporation: Does IFC Do Enough in Low-Income Countries?

IFC’s portfolio is not focused where it could make the most difference. Low income countries are where IFC has the scale to make a considerable difference to development outcomes. While an excessive portfolio shift might imperil IFC’s credit rating, the evidence suggests that there is considerable scope for increasing commitments to low income countries without significant impact to IFC’s credit scores.

Cover of Policy Paper 116
January 17, 2018

Comparing Five Bilateral Development Finance Institutions and the IFC

Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)—which provide financing to private investors in developing economies—have seen rapid expansion over the past few years. This paper describes and analyses a new dataset covering the five largest bilateral DFIs alongside the IFC which includes project amounts, standardized sectors, instruments, and countries. The aim is to establish the size and scope of DFIs and to compare and contrast them with the IFC.

Payouts for Perils: Why Disaster Aid Is Broken, and How Catastrophe Insurance Can Help to Fix It
July 14, 2016

Payouts for Perils: Why Disaster Aid is Broken, and How Catastrophe Insurance Can Help to Fix It

Disaster aid is often too little, too late. Pressure on aid budgets is prompting donors to find ways to handle more crises with less funding. But the current model of discretionary, ex-post disaster aid is increasingly insufficient for these growing needs, and does little to create incentives for governments in affected countries and donors to invest in risk reduction and resilience. This framing paper sets out how the global community can do better.

pp81
April 19, 2016

Inside the Portfolio of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the US government's development finance institution.  Balancing risks, financial needs, and development benefits is riven with numerous tensions, statutory restrictions, and tradeoffs.  This raises an important policy question - how well does OPIC’s actual portfolio balance these competing goals?  Since much data about the OPIC portfolio is unavailable in an accessible format, we built the OPIC Scraped Portfolio database to address this question. 

February 25, 2016

Balancing Financial Integrity with Financial Inclusion: The Risk-Based Approach to “Know Your Customer”

Recognizing the importance of financial inclusion as a policy objective, regulators have endorsed the use of a risk-based approach (RBA) towards know-your-customer (KYC) requirements aimed at strengthening financial integrity.  This paper considers applications of the RBA in domestic banking, mobile money and international financial transactions against the features of a rigorous RBA where both the rigor and level of due diligence and the structure and balance of incentives should be proportional to the balance of risks, including that of exclusion. Recommendations include greater attention to national identification systems and to encourage the use of digital technology to shift from cash-cash wire transfers to more transparent account-account transactions between identified holders.

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