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Front cover of Charles Kenny's policy paper on five principles for DFIs
October 9, 2019

Five Principles for Use of Aid in Subsidies to the Private Sector

There is a significant and ongoing ramp-up in support for explicitly subsidized official development finance to the private sector around the world, but its role remains poorly defined. Lessons from the aid effectiveness literature as a whole and principles on effective use of aid suggest the need for approaches that do not merely finance the marginal private investment. 

Cover of Policy Paper 154
August 6, 2019

Digital Technology and State Capacity in Kenya

Following the launch of M-Pesa in 2007, Kenya has emerged as a global leader in the development of mobile money and in increasing rates of financial inclusion. This paper shows how M-Pesa’s success has led to a series of endogenous innovations that have shaped Kenya’s digital space, placing it ahead of other developing economies in the region in the deployment and use of digital technology.

Njuguna Ndung’u
Cover of Policy Paper 152
July 25, 2019

UK Research Aid: Tied, Opaque and Off-Topic?

The UK has considerably increased the amount of aid it spends on research in recent years. We suggest reporting reforms that will increase transparency and allow greater scrutiny of the way UK research aid is spent. We also call for the UK to live up to its reporting to the OECD that all British aid is untied. 

Cover of Policy Paper 149
July 11, 2019

Fuel Subsidy Reform and Green Taxes: Can Digital Technologies Improve State Capacity and Effectiveness?

Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. The paper outlines how the use of digital technology can help accomplishing those reforms, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward.

Cover of Policy Paper 148
July 2, 2019

Steps Toward Forest Landscape Restoration in The Context of The Rohingya Influx: Creating Opportunities to Advance Environmental, Humanitarian, and Development Progress in Bangladesh

There are now one million Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, comprising about 30 percent of the population. This increase, coupled with immediate needs for fuelwood and shelter, has diminished livelihoods due to deforestation and loss of access to land; soil and slope erosion; fuelwood scarcity and associated risks to safety of people collecting fuelwood; increased encroachment and forest degradation; declining water quality, groundwater reserve depletion, and air pollution; decreasing soil quality; and climate vulnerability.

Cover of Policy Paper 147
July 1, 2019

Transforming the Institutional Landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa: Considerations for Leveraging Africa’s Research Capacity to Achieve Socioeconomic Development

In order to achieve sustainable development outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, African institutions must be the leading experts on and primary providers of research solutions to local problems. We present for consideration three possible innovative models that can facilitate the emergence of strong Africa-based, Africa-led institutions: a multi-stakeholder funding platform, an integrator organization model, and a scale model.

Cover of Policy Paper 146
June 12, 2019

Developing a More Inclusive US Trade Policy at Home and Abroad

US trade policy effectively discriminates against poorer countries. In addition, provisions in trade agreements that tilt the playing field in favor of business interests over those of American consumers and workers also often undermine development priorities in partner countries. American policymakers should rethink the substance and process of trade policy and negotiations to spread the benefits more broadly, at home and abroad.

Cover of Policy Paper 143
May 23, 2019

Does the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Help or Hinder Financial Inclusion? A Study of FATF Mutual Evaluation Reports

As the organization responsible for setting international standards on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has encouraged countries to design measures that protect the integrity of the financial system and support financial inclusion. But it has also received criticism that poor implementation of its standards can undermine financial access.

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.

Cover of Policy Paper 140
April 17, 2019

The Quality of UK Aid Spending, 2011–2018: An Analysis of Evaluations by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact

This paper analyses the grades awarded in the 65 primary reviews undertaken by the UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) over its first eight years of operation, from 2011 to 2018. It finds that ICAI has directly evaluated £28bn of UK aid over the period. Around four-fifths of spend assessed was graded as “satisfactory” (amber/green) or “strong” (green). The findings from ICAI reviews, and this report, should inform the UK Government’s aid allocations between departments at the forthcoming spending review. 

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