Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Image of money and financial symbols
March 27, 2020

What to Do When You Can’t Prove DFI Additionality

“Additionality” is central to claims of impact by development finance institutions (DFIs). At its core is the notion that DFIs are necessary to solve a market failure by providing capital, risk mitigation, or some other benefit to a market that is not delivering these services strictly through private actors. But what exactly constitutes additionality, how do we know when it is real, and how can we measure it?

Todd Moss testifies at the SFRC on Zimbabwe's election
December 6, 2018

US Policy Responses to Zimbabwe’s Illusory Reforms

“Events since the election have only reinforced that pessimism. We have heard lots of rhetoric on democracy, national reconciliation, and economic reform. We can point to a few token gestures of change. But below the surface, very little, if any, meaningful structural change has occurred.”

Cover of Policy Paper 120
February 20, 2018

What Can We Learn about Energy Access and Demand from Mobile-Phone Surveys? Nine Findings from Twelve African Countries

We conducted phone-based surveys on energy access and demand in twelve African countries. From these findings, we draw several potential policy implications. First, both grid electricity and off-grid solutions currently are inadequate to meet many African consumers’ modern energy demands. Second, grid and off-grid electricity are viewed by consumers as complementary, rather than competing, solutions to meet energy demand. Third, a market exists for off-grid solutions even among connected, urban Africans.

Cover of Policy Paper 111
November 17, 2017

When Do Subsidy Reforms Stick? Lessons from Iran, Nigeria, and India

This paper covers qualitative case studies from Iran, Nigeria, and India to illustrate a series of lessons for governments implementing subsidy reform policies. From these three country experiences, we find that fostering public support to implement lasting reform may depend on four measures: (1) forming a public engagement plan and a comprehensive reform policy that are then clearly communicated to the public in advance of price increases; (2) phasing in price adjustments over a period of time to ease absorption; (3) providing a targeted compensatory cash transfer to alleviate financial impacts on low- to middle-income households; and (4) capitalizing on favorable global macroeconomic conditions.

Todd Moss testifies at the SFRC on energy in Africa on November 1, 2017. Photo by Kaveh Sardari.
November 1, 2017

Energy in Africa Promotes US Economic and Security Interests

Todd Moss testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy at a hearing titled “Energy and International Development” on November 1, 2017. During his appearance before the Committee, Todd detailed how US efforts to expand meaningful—modern—energy access in sub-Saharan Africa serve US interests and offered recommendations for strengthening Power Africa.

Grading Power Africa cover
October 26, 2016

Grading Power Africa

Power Africa has the potential to be transformative for millions of poor people and be the single biggest legacy in Africa for President Barack Obama. Observers now have roughly three years to reflect on the initiative: on what’s progressing well, what’s not, and where future risks may lie. While it is still too early to provide a complete analysis of outcomes, this report card provides a timely assessment at the close of this administration and an input to the next one. While the judgments of Power Africa are largely positive, the coming months will be crucial to keeping the effort on a positive trajectory.

July 7, 2016

Development Finance is the Future of US Economic Assistance

On July 7, CGD chief operating officer and senior fellow Todd Moss testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing titled “An Assessment of US Economic Assistance.” Moss’s remarks emphasized the role development finance in promoting market solutions to pover

OPIC
May 24, 2016

How Does OPIC Balance Risks, Additionality, and Development? Proposals for Greater Transparency and Stoplight Filters

As the U.S. government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Its mandate is to mobilize private capital to help address critical development challenges and to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. However, balancing risks, financial needs, and development benefits comes with tradeoffs.

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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. 

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February 3, 2016

Alternatives to HIPC for African Debt-Distressed Countries: Lessons from Myanmar, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe

Despite the success of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in reducing the debt burdens of low-income countries, at least eleven Sub-Saharan African countries are currently in, or face a high risk of, debt distress. A few of those currently at risk include countries that have been excluded from traditional debt relief frameworks. For countries outside the HIPC process, this paper lays out the (formidable) steps for retroactive HIPC inclusion, concluding with lessons for countries seeking exceptional debt relief treatment.

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