On March 24, 2018, Antoinette Sayeh gave the afternoon keynote speech at Harvard University’s 9th Annual African Development Conference. She highlighted four immediate economic challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa, what they mean for the long-term, and the need for action to address them.
Illicit Financial Flows, Trade Misinvoicing, and Multinational Tax Avoidance: The Same or Different?
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) connected with corruption, crime, and tax evasion are an issue of increasing concern. However, there is not yet a clear consensus on how to define illicit financial flows, and even less on how to measure them.
Does Deforestation Increase Malaria Prevalence? Evidence from Satellite Data and Health Surveys - Working Paper 480
In this paper we combine fourteen years of high-resolution satellite data on forest loss with individual-level survey data on malaria in more than 60,000 rural children in 17 countries in Africa, and fever in more than 470,000 rural children in 41 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We did not find that deforestation increases malaria prevalence nor that intermediate levels of forest cover have higher malaria prevalence.
Mobile savings hold great promise, because they can considerably reduce transaction costs that can be unduly heavy for women. Two questions guide us: how can we encourage more women microentrepreneurs to access formal savings accounts, and is mobile saving a particularly fitting solution? This series uses empirical evidence to address these issues.
Mobile savings hold great promise for empowering women entrepreneurs. Women are often disproportionately burdened by high transaction costs to access savings accounts.
Alleviating Global Poverty: Labor Mobility, Direct Assistance, and Economic Growth - Working Paper 479
Simply allowing more labor mobility holds vastly more promise for reducing poverty than anything else on the development agenda. That said, the magnitude of the gains from large growth accelerations (and losses from large decelerations) are also many-fold larger than the potential gains from directed individual interventions and the poverty reduction gains from large, extended periods of rapid growth are larger than from targeted interventions and also hold promise (and have delivered) for reducing global poverty.
Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania - Working Paper 478
This paper presents short-term results from an experiment randomizing the promotion and registration of a mobile savings account among women microentrepreneurs in Tanzania, with and without business training. Six months post-intervention, the results show that women save substantially more through the mobile account, and that the business training bolstered this effect.
Paraguay: Is Good Macro Policy Enough to Ensure Adequate Resilience to Adverse External Shocks? How Does It Compare to Other Emerging Markets? - Working Paper 477
This paper assesses the resilience of Paraguay’s economic and financial stability to external shocks and reaches two main conclusions.
Perspective in Economic Evaluations of Healthcare Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: One Size Does Not Fit All
As developing nations are increasingly adopting economic evaluation as a means of informing their own investment decisions, new questions emerge. The right answer to the question “which perspective?” is the one tailored to these local specifics. We conclude that there is no one-size-fits-all and that the one who pays must set or have a major say in setting the perspective.
In the Face of China’s Ambition, US Policy Must Be Defined by a Positive Agenda in the Developing World
In his appearance before the committee, Morris outlined findings from a newly-published CGD analysis exploring the debt implications of China’s Belt & Road Initiative—and offered his views on what it should mean for US global engagement.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative hopes to deliver trillions of dollars in infrastructure financing to Asia, Europe, and Africa. This paper assesses the likelihood of debt problems in the 68 countries identified as potential BRI borrowers. We conclude that eight countries are at particular risk of debt distress based on an identified pipeline of project lending associated with BRI.
Guyana’s REDD+ Agreement with Norway: Perceptions of and Impacts on Indigenous Communities - Working Paper 476
This report examines the impact of the REDD+ agreement between Guyana and Norway on indigenous communities in the country. It aims to understand the concerns, hopes, and fears of indigenous communities at the start of the agreement, and the effects, if any, that communities have faced from REDD+.
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.
Even while policy solutions to address de-risking are being implemented, new technologies have emerged to address de-risking by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions.
Can Regular Migration Channels Reduce Irregular Migration? Lessons for Europe from the United States
Lawful migration channels are often suggested as a tool to reduce unlawful migration, but often without much evidence that they work. There is evidence that lawful channels for migration between Mexico and the United States have suppressed unlawful migration, but only when combined with robust enforcement efforts.
In response to the recent migrant and refugee crisis, rich countries have redoubled policy efforts to deter future immigration from poor countries by addressing the “root causes” of migration. We review existing evidence on the extent and effectiveness of such efforts.
As waves of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean and the US Southwest border, development agencies have received a de facto mandate: to deter migration from poor countries. Will it work? Here we review the evidence on whether foreign aid has been directed toward these “root causes” in the past, whether it has deterred migration from poor countries, and whether it can do so.
This paper looks at estimates of the potential gains from taxing across borders, alongside largely domestic measures such as property tax, personal income tax, VAT, and tobacco taxes. It finds that while action on cross-border taxation could yield additional tax take in the region of one percent of GDP, in many countries measures targeting the domestic tax base might deliver something in the region of nine percent. The main enabler is political commitment.