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.
Now that computers are capable of taking the jobs that require brain as well as brawn, it may appear there is little left for humans to do. But there are reasons to doubt the pessimism. This note reviews some of the literature around AI, automation, jobs, and development prospects with a focus on potential implications for developing countries and in particular for Africa.
Global development is increasingly intertwined with state fragility. Poverty is becoming concentrated in fragile states, and conflict, violent extremism, and environmental stresses can emerge from and be exacerbated by fragility. As a result, many donors, including the United States, are reflecting on lessons of the past to rethink how they can better help fragile states address the underlying causes of fragility, build peace and stability, and cope with complex risks.
Global development is increasingly intertwined with state fragility. It's time for donors to rethink how their engagement can better help countries address the underlying causes of fragility.
This paper illustrates the tradeoff between country ownership and funders’ priorities with a formal model in which aid is governed by a contract to produce a jointly desired outcome. The model generalizes the Principal-Agent approaches for studying aid which treat countries as having multiple objectives.
The World Bank is a multilateral organization that provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries. As the World Bank’s largest shareholder, the United States maintains a unique influence in shaping its agenda and has a vested interest in ensuring the institution is well managed and appropriately resourced. The US Congress has an important role both in funding US contributions to the World Bank and in overseeing US participation in the institution. Past congressional decisions tied to US funding have led to changes in World Bank policies and institutional reforms.
ABCs of the IFIs: The African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are among the international financial institutions seeking pledges from donor countries as part of upcoming replenishment cycles in 2019 and 2020.
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.
The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development oversees an aid-financed R&D budget that is larger than that of the next 15 biggest donors combined. At the moment, a considerable proportion of that UK R&D spend goes towards solving global technological challenges related to neglected tropical diseases including malaria, and a considerable proportion again towards local evaluation of aid-financed development interventions. Much of the rest is somewhat opaquely distributed to British universities for research supposedly related to development.
Following her submission of written and oral evidence to the United Kingdom's House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee in January 2019, Mikaela Gavas submitted further evidence to the Sub-Committee in August 2019.
Bangladesh provides a significant global public good by hosting over one million Rohingya refugees. Most are living in camps in Cox’s Bazar district, where resources and livelihoods are strained. The refugee situation is likely to be protracted, and medium-term planning is critical.
Multilingual Assessment of Early Child Development: Analyses from Repeated Observations of Children in Kenya
In many low- and middle-income countries, young children learn a mother tongue or indigenous language at home before entering the formal education system where they will need to understand and speak a country’s official language(s). Thus, assessments of children before school age, conducted in a nation’s official language, may not fully reflect a child’s development, underscoring the importance of test translation and adaptation.
Many teachers in low- and middle-income countries lack the skills to teach effectively, and professional development (PD) programs are the principal tool that governments use to upgrade those skills. At the same time, few PD programs are evaluated, and those that are evaluated show highly varying results. In this paper, we propose a set of indicators to standardize reporting on teacher PD programs.
Marginal, Not Transformational: Development Finance Institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals
Development finance institutions have positioned themselves as key agencies to help the world meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It is doubtful that they can deliver. This paper outlines the challenges facing DFIs in achieving (anywhere near) such an expansion in their impact, particularly in infrastructure and particularly in the poorest countries.
Global health interventions, like many public policies, are rife with uncertainty. Will a program, such as a malaria prevention strategy that looks strong on paper, work as intended? Will a new technology, such as a specific drug or device that appears effective in clinical trial settings, work in practice and provide good value-for-money?
There are several efforts underway in the Pacific Islands to insure public and private assets against natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes. These efforts are designed to mitigate the annual costs of such disasters which range from a few percent to over 50 percent of GDP. However, insurance is not a substitute for aid. Most islands are heavily aid dependent and cannot afford to pay the high premiums associated with disaster risk insurance.
To produce real systemic change, the aid system must move beyond technical and rhetorical approaches to accountability and begin reshaping the power and incentive structures that influence aid decision-making.
India has emerged as a leader in building on its biometric digital ID to reform service and program delivery. It moved quickly to consolidate the rollout of Aadhaar, and then to embed the unique Aadhaar number into program databases. A range of applications, including digital signature and payments, was then constructed on top of the Aadhaar foundation (the India Stack). Together with partners, the Center for Global Development is analyzing the effects of Aadhaar-based reforms. The three programs we discuss below highlight achievements as well as challenges that need to be overcome for greater efficiency and inclusion.