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Anti-Corruption Strategies in Foreign Aid: From Controls to Results

3/7/16

Corruption is an obstacle to social and economic progress in developing countries yet we still know very little about the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts and their impact on development impact. This essay looks at 25 years of efforts by foreign aid agencies to combat corruption and proposes a new strategy which could leverage existing approaches by directly incorporating information on development results.

Assessing the US Feed the Future Initiative: A New Approach to Food Security?

3/1/16
Data on Feed the Future's results are just becoming available, and there is strikingly little independent analysis of the program. While we cannot yet assess the impact on poverty alleviation or improved nutrition, we can assess how Feed the Future performs against its stated objective of offering a new, more effective approach to food security. The integrated agriculture and nutrition approach emphasizes increased selectivity in aid allocations along with country ownership and capacity building to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of the initiative’s impacts. We find the initiative has led to an increase in the share of overall US assistance for agriculture and nutrition, and that the Obama administration has increasingly concentrated this aid in selected focus countries. 

Balancing Financial Integrity with Financial Inclusion: The Risk-Based Approach to “Know Your Customer”

2/25/16

Recognizing the importance of financial inclusion as a policy objective, regulators have endorsed the use of a risk-based approach (RBA) towards know-your-customer (KYC) requirements aimed at strengthening financial integrity.  This paper considers applications of the RBA in domestic banking, mobile money and international financial transactions against the features of a rigorous RBA where both the rigor and level of due diligence and the structure and balance of incentives should be proportional to the balance of risks, including that of exclusion. Recommendations include greater attention to national identification systems and to encourage the use of digital technology to shift from cash-cash wire transfers to more transparent account-account transactions between identified holders.

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Alternatives to HIPC for African Debt-Distressed Countries: Lessons from Myanmar, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe

2/3/16

Despite the success of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in reducing the debt burdens of low-income countries, at least eleven Sub-Saharan African countries are currently in, or face a high risk of, debt distress. A few of those currently at risk include countries that have been excluded from traditional debt relief frameworks. For countries outside the HIPC process, this paper lays out the (formidable) steps for retroactive HIPC inclusion, concluding with lessons for countries seeking exceptional debt relief treatment.

The Role of Industrial Policy as a Development Tool: New Evidence from the Globalization of Trade-and-Investment

12/22/15
Theodore Moran

Emerging market countries that manage to diversify and upgrade their production and export base grow more rapidly and enjoy greater welfare gains than those that do not.  Foreign direct investment in manufacturing is concentrated in middle- and upper-skilled activities -- not lowest-skilled operations -- and thus offers many opportunities for structural transformation of the host economy.  But the challenge of using FDI to diversify and upgrade the local production and export base is fraught with market failures and tricky obstacles.  Contemporary debates about industrial policy as a development tool focus on how best to overcome these market failures and other difficulties.

Finding Cash for Infrastructure in Addis: Blending, Lending, and Guarantees in Finance for Development

Finding Cash for Infrastructure in Addis: Blending, Lending and Guarantees in Finance for Development

6/19/15

The total scale of incremental investment requirements in infrastructure in developing countries has been estimated at around USD 1 trillion a year, with a range of related studies suggesting numbers between $815 billion to $1.3 trillion. While all such numbers are open to considerable debate, and were not designed to measure the cost of delivering the specific SDG infrastructure targets, they suggest the likely scale of the financing challenge for an SDG agenda which includes universal coverage to adequate housing, water, sanitation, modern energy and communications technologies. 

Indonesia's Missing Millions: Erasing Discrimination in Birth Certification in Indonesia

Indonesia’s Missing Millions: Erasing Discrimination in Birth Certification in Indonesia

6/16/15
Cate Sumner

Indonesia’s rate of birth registration is imprecisely measured but is low, especially among the poorer, rural, population. At the same time, the country has developed a system of population registration with wide, if not universal, coverage. In addition, under current regulations that link legal recognition of paternity to the existence of a legal marriage, many children can only receive a birth certificate with the name of the mother. Such a credential is widely seen as less than desirable, creating a situation where children are discriminated against on the basis of the marital status of their parents.

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