Ideas to Action:

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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.

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. 

Image of the Front Cover of the What Works Paper
October 4, 2019

When Does “What Works” Work? And What Does that Mean for UK Aid R&D Spend?

The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development oversees an aid-financed R&D budget that is larger than that of the next 15 biggest donors combined. At the moment, a considerable proportion of that UK R&D spend goes towards solving global technological challenges related to neglected tropical diseases including malaria, and a considerable proportion again towards local evaluation of aid-financed development interventions. Much of the rest is somewhat opaquely distributed to British universities for research supposedly related to development.

Cover of Working Paper 518
October 3, 2019

Multilingual Assessment of Early Child Development: Analyses from Repeated Observations of Children in Kenya

In many low- and middle-income countries, young children learn a mother tongue or indigenous language at home before entering the formal education system where they will need to understand and speak a country’s official language(s). Thus, assessments of children before school age, conducted in a nation’s official language, may not fully reflect a child’s development, underscoring the importance of test translation and adaptation.

Cover of Working Paper 517
September 27, 2019

Teacher Professional Development around the World: The Gap between Evidence and Practice

Many teachers in low- and middle-income countries lack the skills to teach effectively, and professional development (PD) programs are the principal tool that governments use to upgrade those skills. At the same time, few PD programs are evaluated, and those that are evaluated show highly varying results. In this paper, we propose a set of indicators to standardize reporting on teacher PD programs.

Anna Popova , David Evans , Mary E. Breeding and Violeta Arancibia
September 20, 2019

Are the Pacific Islands Insurable? Challenges and Opportunities for Disaster Risk Finance

There are several efforts underway in the Pacific Islands to insure public and private assets against natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes. These efforts are designed to mitigate the annual costs of such disasters which range from a few percent to over 50 percent of GDP.  However, insurance is not a substitute for aid.  Most islands are heavily aid dependent and cannot afford to pay the high premiums associated with disaster risk insurance. 

September 13, 2019

Building on Digital ID for Inclusive Services: Lessons from India

India has emerged as a leader in building on its biometric digital ID to reform service and program delivery. It moved quickly to consolidate the rollout of Aadhaar, and then to embed the unique Aadhaar number into program databases. A range of applications, including digital signature and payments, was then constructed on top of the Aadhaar foundation (the India Stack). Together with partners, the Center for Global Development is analyzing the effects of Aadhaar-based reforms. The three programs we discuss below highlight achievements as well as challenges that need to be overcome for greater efficiency and inclusion.

Cover of Working Paper 515
September 12, 2019

The Political Economy of Testing in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have not implemented testing of children’s learning that can be benchmarked regionally or globally, in contrast to almost all countries in Latin America. Our analysis of the political economy of cross-national learning measurement in Latin America suggests that policymakers perceive the risks of exposing their education system’s performance by joining cross-national assessments, but they also value the quality of the data generated, the strengthening of domestic technical capacity, and the political benefits in using comparative results to argue for reforms or to advertise progress.

The cover of the report
September 4, 2019

Building an EU-Africa Partnership of Equals: A Roadmap for the New European Leadership

The arrival of a new leadership team in Brussels provides an opportunity for Europe to reinvigorate its role as a global development power and to build a true partnership with its continental neighbour, Africa. These tasks have never been more urgent. 

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.

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