Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Tag: Finance

 

tropical forest

A Global Offer to Reduce Deforestation: $5 Billion a Year for 20 Years

When it comes to measuring development impacts, nothing beats forests. With ever-improving satellite monitoring technology, measuring global forest cover is each year easier, cheaper, and more accurate. Which means that—whatever you want to call it (pay for performance, results-based aid)—rewarding tropical forest countries for preserving their forests, and for their climate and development benefits, is becoming easier and more accurate.

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Rising debt vulnerability in low-income countries (LICs) is emerging as a front-burner issue. Analysts at the IMF and elsewhere are tracking increases in public debt ratios that had fallen after the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. Forty percent of LICs are either in, or at high risk of, debt distress. Many factors have contributed to rising debt-to-GDP ratios: falling commodity prices, deteriorating fiscal balances, conflict, and corruption, among others. The larger fiscal deficits are fully or partially accounted for by increased public investment in about half of LICs. Which brings us to the challenge of financing the SDGs.

changes in EU agricultural budget over time

What the EU Budget Means for Developing Countries: Agriculture and Development

Three weeks ago, the European Commission published its initial proposal for the EU’s budget from 2021 to 2027. The headlines? Overall spending would rise despite the loss of the UK, and development spending and ‘external action’ could see increases. But both agriculture and regional spending would be cut. This blog post is the first in a series analyzing the Commission’s proposals for its “long-term budget” and looks specifically at the agriculture budget and its global development impact.

Development Cooperation Has Emerged a Winner in the EU’s 2021-2027 Budget Proposal, but the Odds Are Stacked against It

The long-awaited European Commission Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027—the EU’s long-term budget—has been unveiled, and so begins the EU’s big battle over money and priorities. Brace yourselves for a long arduous struggle that will expose divisions in the bloc in all sorts of ways—payers vs. recipients, east vs. west, north vs. south, federalists vs. intergovernmentalists, values vs interests. This is also the review that will shape the future of EU development cooperation and the credibility of the EU as a major player in the international development sphere. Does the Commission’s proposal live up to the challenge?

On Global Public Goods: It’s Not Big Money but It’s a Big Breakthrough

There is much to cheer about in last week’s announcement by the World Bank’s shareholders to increase its paid-in capital by $13 billion. It is a healthy signal that multilateralism is alive and well, at least in the development space. And on a practical level it is sufficient to ensure that at a minimum World Bank lending to sovereign borrowers can be sustained at current levels, and private sector operations can continue to grow.

The Next Billion Customers: Is Technology the Key to Closing the Global Gap in Financial Services?

Over 1.7 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked, but two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could easily connect them to the financial services they need. Governments could leverage digital payments to bring wages, pensions, and services directly to their beneficiaries. Private sector banks could provide digital accounts, loans, and savings devices to a new, previously unreached market. And these unbanked adults could have safe and secure methods to save, invest, and transfer money.

More Mobilization and Impact: Adapting MDB Private Finance Models

There is an urgent need to change PSW business models to maintain their financial sustainability while doing much better on mobilization and development impact. Two factors are critical for meeting this challenge: enhanced risk management capability and greater flexibility regarding risk-adjusted returns.

The Mongolian Millions: What Can We Learn from the Making of a Multinational Tax Avoidance Scandal?

Earlier this year, The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (“SOMO”; a Dutch NGO) issued a report about an international mining company they said had avoided paying $232 million USD in taxes in Mongolia. The Oyu Tolgoi mine is considered a big deal in Mongolia and has been subject to lengthy negotiations on how to split the risks, costs, and profits of the project between the company and the government. While this question is of primary interest to the people of Mongolia, I think that delving into the detail of individual cases like this is also important for clarifying the broader debates and understanding of tax issues.

 

The World Bank’s Preference for Private Finance: Explained

Last year the World Bank adopted a new “cascade” approach that intended to maximise finance for development by prioritising private solutions wherever possible. In what world would this “cascade” algorithm make sense? Without a good answer to that question, the cascade risks looking like ideology rather than sound development finance advice.

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