Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 
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.

Cover of How China Lends paper
March 31, 2021

How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments

China is the world’s largest official creditor, but we lack basic facts about the terms and conditions of its lending. Very few contracts between Chinese lenders and their government borrowers have ever been published or studied. This paper is the first systematic analysis of the legal terms of China’s foreign lending. We collect and analyze 100 contracts between Chinese state-owned entities and government borrowers in 24 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, and compare them with those of other bilateral, multilateral, and commercial creditors.

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.

A shot of the front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Adobe Stock
November 18, 2020

Bargaining with Beijing: A Tale of Two Borrowers

We examine the behavior of Chinese government lenders in two debt rescheduling episodes: a “low stakes” case involving Seychelles and a “high stakes” case involving the Republic of Congo. The fact that the Republic of Congo was worse off after rescheduling its debts with Beijing underscores the importance of exposing these deals to public scrutiny before they are finalized and building borrower country capacity to negotiate more favorable deals.

Cover of Working Paper 554
October 12, 2020

Is the World Bank’s COVID Crisis Lending Big Enough, Fast Enough? New Evidence on Loan Disbursements

We compile a new data set, combining official sources with transaction-level records scraped from the World Bank website, spanning all commitments, disbursements, and payments on all World Bank loans from before the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis through August 2020, allowing us to compare the Bank’s COVID response to the last comparable global crisis. We find that lending has indeed accelerated in 2020, but the Bank appears to be on track to fulfill only half of its own target of $160 billion in new lending by June 2021.

May 8, 2020

China in Africa

On May 8, 2020, CGD senior fellow Scott Morris testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China in Africa. Morris's testimony focused on China’s lending to sub-Saharan African countries, how it affects the debt picture on the continent, and how the US government can respond.

Cover of Policy Paper 170
April 2, 2020

Chinese and World Bank Lending Terms: A Systematic Comparison Across 157 Countries and 15 Years

China’s lending volumes in developing countries far surpass those of other bilateral creditors and compare in scale only to World Bank lending practices. Where World Bank lending terms, volumes, and policies are publicly available, the state of knowledge on official Chinese financing terms remains limited due to a lack of official transparency.

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
The first page of the brief
October 11, 2019

ABCs of the IFIs: The World Bank

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.

Stock photo of test tubes and a pipette
August 8, 2019

Promoting Investment in Research for Development Outcomes: A Research Ventures Fund at the World Bank

This note proposes a new Research Ventures Fund (RVF) at the World Bank to better prioritize R&D investments in support of development progress. The RVF would employ financing mechanisms that are consistent with research needs: significant scale and scope, patience, and tolerance for failure. Existing development-oriented research consortia like CGIAR would provide a promising start for RVF funding allocations. Donors to the IDA-19 replenishment should take the first step in securing funding for the new fund in 2019.

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.

The International Development Finance Club and the Sustainable Development Goals
December 17, 2018

The International Development Finance Club and the Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs face a key dilemma. Although major multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the other core MDBs have played a leadership role in shaping the SDG financing framework, there is a significant misalignment between the structure of these institutions and SDG financing needs. The International Development Finance Club is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role on the SDGs.

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