Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



An image of the World Bank in Washington DC
November 15, 2021

What Next for IDA?

IDA, the World Bank’s concessional fund, was set up 1960 to provide affordable finance to countries with the smallest economies, lowest per capita incomes and lowest creditworthiness. The goal was to help those countries to grow faster and more equally and thereby sustainably to reduce poverty. IDA can fairly claim to have made a significant contribution to global poverty reduction over recent decades. But it is now underperforming in the countries with the biggest challenges. If it wants to retain its preferred status as a beneficiary of donor resources in the future, it needs a better offer to the neediest countries.

A pile of international currency laid out in a photograph
June 30, 2021

IFC 3.1?

IFC’s board and leadership understand that meeting these goals requires a change in the way that the corporation operates, and a number of recent reforms will help it to deliver. But while these reforms are a welcome start, the IFC will have to change further if it is to meet its targets and reach its development potential. This paper discusses the rationale and elements of that change agenda, focused on ensuring the IFC best serves its ultimate clients.

Cover of the revised working paper 527
March 30, 2020

SDG1: The Last Three Percent

There is a little-noticed but important difference between the World Bank’s original goal for poverty reduction and the subsequent UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). While both target the “$1.90 a day” poverty rate, the Bank’s goal was a 3% rate by 2030, while the SDG is to “eradicate” poverty by 2030.

Cover image of IFC Capital Increase Note
March 4, 2020

Why Congress Should Authorize the IFC Capital Increase

In May 2018, the shareholders of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)—the private sector arm of the World Bank—agreed to increase its paid-in capital by $5.5 billion as part of the $13 billion capital increase for the World Bank Group (WBG). The US administration agreed to the increase but declined to contribute to the additional capital. But for the increase to take effect, Congress must authorize it. Thus far, it has not done so. Why?

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.

Cover of Policy Paper 115
January 17, 2018

Inside the Portfolio of the International Finance Corporation: Does IFC Do Enough in Low-Income Countries?

IFC’s portfolio is not focused where it could make the most difference. Low income countries are where IFC has the scale to make a considerable difference to development outcomes. While an excessive portfolio shift might imperil IFC’s credit rating, the evidence suggests that there is considerable scope for increasing commitments to low income countries without significant impact to IFC’s credit scores.

Cover of Policy Paper 116
January 17, 2018

Comparing Five Bilateral Development Finance Institutions and the IFC

Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)—which provide financing to private investors in developing economies—have seen rapid expansion over the past few years. This paper describes and analyses a new dataset covering the five largest bilateral DFIs alongside the IFC which includes project amounts, standardized sectors, instruments, and countries. The aim is to establish the size and scope of DFIs and to compare and contrast them with the IFC.