Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



Filter by publication type:


A graphic of the indexed GIPC 2019 IP Index Component Score for African Countries and China.
May 18, 2021

China’s Model of Innovation: Are There Lessons for African Countries?

Innovation is known to be important for productivity and economic growth, while intellectual property rights are, in conventional economics models, thought to spur innovation. Yet China, which averaged over 6 percent annual economic growth for three decades and is often cited as a “growth miracle,” has been criticized for poor intellectual property rights protection domestically, as well as when exporting products abroad.

Peter Grinsted and Ovigwe Eugene
An image of the IMF building.
April 21, 2021

Can Special Drawing Rights Be Recycled to Where They Are Needed at No Budgetary Cost?

In this note, David Andrews looks at one mechanism that could work for using excess SDRs to the benefit of low- and middle-income countries: donating them. It is a simple idea but hardly straightforward, as he demonstrates with a “case study” of how the United Kingdom might do this. The UK’s rules governing the use of its reserves, when overlayed on the IMF’s rules surrounding SDRs, make for a difficult thicket to plow through to effect a donation of SDRs.

An image of the globe on top of money.
April 20, 2021

Forging an MDB System: Strategy and Governance

The need for collaboration and cooperation across the multilateral development banks (MDBs) seems obvious. Donor governments set up these institutions to multiply their development dollars, to concentrate global development expertise, and to spread knowledge and evidence of effective development policies and practices around the globe.

The cover of the note
April 14, 2021

The UK’s Reduction in Aid Spending

In this briefing note, we review what this shift in policy means for overall aid spending, effective management of the aid budget, and the broader public finances. The government has stated that it is a temporary shift in policy; we consider how the fiscal outlook and other government spending decisions interact with the aid budget, and discuss the implications of uncertainty over the aid budget going forward.

An image of a construction crane in an African city.
April 8, 2021

“Tens of Millions” to “Hundreds of Millions”: Synthetic Credit to Enable Private Funding for Infrastructure in Low-Income Countries

As the Biden administration turns its attention to infrastructure legislation in the United States, it is important to focus on the role investment in infrastructure financing can play in the recovery. This note covers a policy proposal for a credit enhancement instrument, using concessional financing, from development finance institutions to enable low-income countries (LICs) to attract private finance in infrastructure. It is an incremental iteration of the World Bank’s ambitious “billions to trillions” campaign.

An image of the World Bank Building
April 5, 2021

Tracking the Scale and Speed of the World Bank’s COVID Response: April 2021 Update

Last year at this time, the World Bank announced its intention to provide $104 billion in financing to developing country governments to help them respond to the COVID-19 crisis. We took stock of those efforts seven months ago. More than a year into the pandemic, it’s time to check in again on the Bank’s crisis financing. We revisit four basic questions about the Bank’s lending performance since it originally announced its COVID response.

An image of a patient receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from a doctor.
April 5, 2021

Vaccine Financing: How a Redesigned IMF Instrument Can Provide a Shot in the Arm for the Global Pandemic Response

A new IMF rapid credit window could provide some $30 billion to cover the vaccine financing needs for most developing countries through 2021-22. The mechanism would facilitate collective action to negotiate increased production, the main obstacle to achieving vaccine coverage and rectifying the gross inequities in current distribution. It would remain in place for future global pandemic responses.

An image of the World Bank Group Building
April 1, 2021

IDA-20: Donors Must Go Big, and IDA Must Too

The time is now for a historic IDA replenishment. The world’s poorest countries’ recovery from the COVID-19 economic downturn will largely hinge on the scale of the emergency relief and investment programs over the next few years.

An image of windmills at night
March 29, 2021

Principles for Paris-Alignment and Climate Finance in Development

As ministers and officials meet in the coming year, they will make new financing commitments on climate and promise to ensure all of their activities are “Paris-compatible”—against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Any new commitments on climate finance will need to balance existing development challenges with the pressing need to tackle climate-related risks. This note outlines a set of principles to guide climate-related commitments so that they do more for both climate and development.

March 26, 2021

Incentivizing COVID-19 Vaccine Developers to Expand Manufacturing Capacity

Safe and efficacious vaccines are our best tools for defeating COVID-19, and an unprecedented research and development effort has led to 12 vaccines being approved for full, emergency, or limited use, globally. But to vaccinate the global population as quickly as possible requires additional production capacity. The available global production capacity may be sufficient in aggregate across all vaccine manufacturing platforms over an 18- to 24-month window.

The cover of the note
March 18, 2021

Fuel Subsidy Reform in Fragile States: Forging A Constructive IFI-UN Partnership

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, fragile states around the world struggled to manage complex and interacting risks. Facing macroeconomic stressors on top of a fragile peace, many countries found themselves balancing precariously between tipping points, knowing that interventions that might ease economic tension may push dangerously close to a political precipice, while those designed to alleviate social unrest may drive the country deeper into fiscal crisis.

An image of solar panels and wind mills with a city skyline in the background.
March 16, 2021

A Climate-Dedicated Capital Increase at the World Bank and IFC

With a new US administration rejoining the Paris Agreement and the upcoming Glasgow climate conference set to endorse a new set of national commitments to greenhouse gas emissions, there is renewed momentum in the struggle to limit climate change and its global impact. But global finance to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries is still inadequate and misdirected. A climate-dedicated capital increase at the World Bank Group would be a comparatively low-cost way to considerably improve the volume and quality of climate finance.

Cover of the note Education Technology for Effective Teachers
February 16, 2021

Education Technology for Effective Teachers

Education systems around the world are investing in technology to help teachers be more effective. In some cases, the results are exciting. In others, the impact of technology falls short of expectations or remains unevaluated. This note lays out four principles for investing in technology for effective teachers and six aspects of teaching where technology can boost teacher performance, together with examples of tested, promising, and cautionary experiences with teacher technologies.

An image showing a person holding a phone and receiving a message that they have a COVID vaccine certificate.
February 11, 2021

A COVID Vaccine Certificate: Building on Lessons from Digital ID for the Digital Yellow Card

COVID-19 vaccination efforts are well and truly underway across the world. In addition to those in Europe and North America, vaccination campaigns are gathering pace across China, India, Russia, and the Middle East, though lagging in many other, mostly poor, countries. As more start scaling up their own programs and the number of vaccinated people increases over the coming year, a COVID Vaccine Certificate is likely to become an important tool to help monitor and manage the rollout of vaccinations and get national economies back on track.

February 9, 2021

Financing a Possible Expansion of the IMF’s Support for LICs

The IMF’s concessional support for low-income countries (LICs) is provided primarily through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). Since the start of the pandemic, lending from the PRGT has risen very sharply in response to the unprecedented and urgent needs of LICs; total PRGT credit outstanding nearly doubled during 2020 to far exceed past peaks. This note considers possible financing sources, taking into account legal, political, and practical constraints including the timeliness with which different resources could be mobilized.

February 4, 2021

How Might an SDR Allocation Be Better Tailored to Support Low-Income Countries?

Since Covid-19 emerged there have been numerous calls for an allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as part of a broader effort to assist low-income countries (LICs) in dealing with the fallout from the pandemic. So far, these calls have been thwarted by political opposition from some of the IMF’s shareholders, in part because SDR allocations are not well-targeted towards LICs or developing countries in general.