Ideas to Action:

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Cover of Private Distribution Channels for UHC paper
December 12, 2019

Harnessing the Power of Private Distribution Channels for UHC

New technology, better use of data, and entrepreneurial passion in improving distribution channels is reaching a critical mass with the potential to drive extraordinary improvements in availability, affordability, and quality of health products. Global health institutions can play a significant role in further boosting the overall innovation ecosystem for health products distribution. However, most distribution system innovators are missing from global discussions around UHC and access to medicines.

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
Rohingya refugee women attending English literacy classes in Malaysia.
December 10, 2019

Sharing Responsibility for the Rohingya Crisis: What Role Can Labor Mobility Agreements Play?

While the ultimate goal remains safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of the refugees back to Myanmar, realistic scenarios for repatriation show significant numbers of Rohingya will remain in Bangladesh for more than 10 years. Consequently, there is growing interest in trying to move beyond the existing short-term aid-based solutions to inclusive, medium-term approaches that include economic, environmental, and human development in the region.

Front cover of aid transitions note
December 10, 2019

Mind the Gaps: Takeaways from Emerging Research and Policy Implications for Aid Transition in Health and Development

As countries grow economically, governments face rapidly growing demands for quality, affordable, accessible, and equitable healthcare and other social services. At the same time, many middle-income countries face the prospect of transitioning away from donor aid, adding pressure to already-constrained public budgets to fill gaps as donor support ramps down. 

Girls sew at an IRC-supported women's centre in Kutupalong refugee camp for Rohingya refugees. The space is run by IRC's partner RTMI. In the space women and girls take part in activities and receive basic health care.
December 6, 2019

How Business Can Invest in the Future of the Rohingya and Host Community in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is hosting more than a million Rohingya refugees, and businesses have a critical role to play in improving the situation for them and their Bangladeshi host communities. We have identified four viable areas for business investment and procurement in Cox’s Bazar, the historically under-developed region that is hosting the Rohingya refugees.

An abstract image of connections between different nodes.
December 6, 2019

A Farewell to Disruption in a Post-Platform World

Unless you have checked out of Earth, you must have heard phrases like, “data is the new oil,” “software is eating the world.” and “AI will disrupt everything.” Similar claims are bandied about as if they mean the same thing and as if they all point to the same trends, with little attempt to dig into their actual significance.

Bright Simons
Front Cover Stretch Fund
December 4, 2019

The Stretch Fund

When the world adopted the SDGs, policymakers knew that aid alone would never meet the financing needs. They embraced the “billions to trillions” vision, believing that an abundance of commercially viable SDG-related investments was ready and waiting for trillions in profitable private investment—if only development finance institutions (DFIs) and others could clear away the obstacles that stand between the investments and private investors. Reality looks different. To fill the gaps in the financial architecture, Nancy Lee and Dan Preston propose the Stretch Fund.

Graphic of an analytics dashboard. Adobe Stock.
November 14, 2019

Towards Real-Time Governance: Using Digital Feedback to Improve Service, Voice, and Accountability

Improving the quality, impact, and efficiency of public services is one of the most critical challenges of public policy. There are multiple ways of addressing these challenges, but a common theme is the need to put citizens at the center of governance and service delivery, through empowerment, transparency, accountability, and participation.

Alan Gelb , Neeraj Mittal and Anit Mukherjee
A server blinks in a datacenter.
November 12, 2019

The New Economy of Africa: Opportunities for Nigeria’s Emerging Technology Sector

Nigeria has a vibrant and growing tech sector. In a survey of tech firms conducted in 2018, we find that most firms start small but grow quickly, more than doubling their size in the few years since the start of operations. Many are addressing inefficiencies in distribution of goods and services. But firms are still hampered by the business environment, notably unreliable electricity and lack of access to credit. Most suffer significant power outages, forcing them to purchase generators. Few firms have access to financial institutions or venture capitalists, relying instead on family and professional networks. Finally, tech firms employ very few women. While the Nigerian government has made the tech sector a priority, it needs to do more to improve the basics of the business environment. The government and the private sector must also take steps to increase the participation of women in the tech sector.

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
Image of sugar coming out of soda can
November 12, 2019

Taxing “Bads”: An Overview of Research Initiatives

This note outlines the organizations and research initiatives currently addressing taxation of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages—the “bads”—to help navigate the landscape of existing research and identify gaps and opportunities for further work.

November 8, 2019

Center for Global Development Keynote Address

This is the text of a speech given by president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at an event hosted at the Center for Global Development on November 4, 2019.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
The cover of the note
November 7, 2019

Gender Equality in US Think Tank Leadership: Data from Tax Records

Existing analysis of US think tanks suggests that women are underrepresented among senior staff, leadership, and board members. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Soraya Kamali-Nafar at Women In International Security examined 22 Washington, DC-based think tanks working on foreign policy and national and international security, and they found that 68 percent of the heads of the think tanks were men, along with 73 percent of the experts and 78 percent of those on governing boards. In 2018, a random sampling of 10 leading US think tanks working on development by Charles Kenny and Tanvi Jaluka suggested that women made up 30 percent of high-paid employees and 10 percent of highest-paid employees, and that higher-paid women earned only 75 percent that of higher-paid men. 

An image showing a trading ship at sea
November 1, 2019

A Smoother Trade Transition for Graduating LDCs

For nearly 50 years, the world’s “least developed countries” have received extra financial support and preferential trade treatment to help them grow and develop. In the first three decades after the United Nations (UN) created the LDC category in 1971, only one country—diamond-rich Botswana—outgrew that status.

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