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International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and particularly the relationship between the IFIs and the United States.
Scott Morris is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, director of the center’s US Development Policy program and co-director of the Sustainable Development Finance program. His research addresses development finance issues, debt policy, governance issues at international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF, and Chinese development finance.
Morris served as deputy assistant secretary for development finance and debt at the US Treasury Department in the Obama Administration. In that capacity, he led US engagement with the multilateral development banks, as well as US participation in the Paris Club of official creditors. During his time at Treasury, Morris led negotiations for four general capital increases at the multilateral development banks and replenishments of the International Development Association (IDA), Asian Development Fund, and African Development Fund.
Morris was a senior staff member on the Financial Services Committee in the US House of Representatives, where he was responsible for the Committee’s international policy issues, including the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (the landmark reform of the CFIUS process), as well multiple reauthorizations of the US Export-Import Bank charter and approval of a $108 billion financing agreement for the International Monetary Fund in 2009. Previously, Morris was a vice president at the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, DC.
Morris serves on the international advisory panel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the eminent group of independent advisors for the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the executive committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. He is also co-chair of the International Financial Institutions working group, a diverse coalition of US-based organizations seeking to promote effective US participation in multilateral institutions.
A new study and dataset released today reveals previously unknown details about China—the world’s largest official creditor—and its lending practices to developing countries.
How China Lends finds that Chinese state-owned banks are muscular, commercially savvy lenders that use contracts to position themselves as “preferred creditors,” seeking repayment ahead of other commercial and official lenders. They often do so by asking borrowers for an informal source of collateral—bank accounts with minimum cash balance requirements that lenders can seize in the event of default—and prohibiting borrowers from restructuring their Chinese debts in coordination with other creditors.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead US development agency, managing roughly $20 billion in annual appropriations. The agency operates in over 120 countries, including the world’s poorest and most fragile. Its work spans a wide range of sectors, supporting humanitarian relief, economic growth, health, education, and more. USAID’s broad remit reflects the agency’s mission: “We partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity."
State Department guidance underscores the importance of its work in furthering development: “The surest path to creating more prosperous societies requires indigenous political will; responsive, effective, accountable, and transparent governance; and broad-based, inclusive economic growth. Without this enabling environment, sustained development progress often remains out of reach.”
Since its establishment more than 54 years ago, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded into an $18-billion-a-year agency, operating in over 145 countries and in nearly every development sector. But USAID is often constrained in its ability to adapt to emerging development challenges due to differing political priorities among key stakeholders and resource constraints. This memo is the result of a roundtable discussion in July 2016 on how the next US administration, in close concert with Congress, can build upon and maximize the development impact of USAID.
As donors gather next week in Rome to pledge funds to the International Fund for Agriculture Development , they may be wondering where the United States is. Given the generally high marks this independent fund earns for development effectiveness, the uncertainty around a US pledge is troubling. In this “America First” moment, it’s worth asking when it comes to IFAD, what’s in it for the United States and what will be lost if the United States drops out?