Recently, my colleague Clemence Landers argued that International Development Association (IDA), the largest source of concessional loans and grant finance for the world’s poorest countries, needs to “go big” in its next replenishment.
CGD Policy Blogs
Makhtar Diop, former minister of finance in Senegal and current vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank, has been tapped to be the next head of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector investment arm. This is welcome news: Diop’s experience and talents can help steer IFC towards greater development impact during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
What impact do development finance institutions (DFIs) like the IFC have on actual development? Today, George Yang and I release a paper that tries to take a sectoral approach to impact: does an IFC electricity investment lead to more power production per capita in a country, or financing provided to local banks lead to a larger proportion of people with a bank account?
We need to move forward—or backward—in what we expect development finance institutions (DFIs) to do in terms of financing private sector development in the world’s poorest countries.
Providing reliable electricity is complex and expensive: large power plants can be billion-dollar investments. As a result, a growing number of cash-strapped developing countries are signing power purchase agreements with electricity providers to shift investment costs to the private sector.
How should member countries of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee classify their support to private sector investments in developing countries though development finance institutions? Either way, donors have decided that DFIs are in the aid business. And that means that DFIs should follow the principles of effective aid that DAC donors have signed up to.
When development finance institutions (DFIs) use subsidies to support private firms in developing countries, they fundamentally change the nature of their business. To ensure the maximum development impact of scarce aid resources, subsidies should be competitive wherever possible, capped if not competitive, and transparent in every case.
The Private Sector Window (PSW) takes resources from the World Bank’s soft lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), and uses it to support private sector investments in poorer developing countries.This is a comparatively straightforward way for the IFC to move money, but it is hard to know if it is a good way, in part because of the Corporation’s opaque lending practices –which need to change.
Development finance institutions like the International Finance Corporation and the UK’s CDC Group use public finance to support private investments in developing countries. At their best they can help create new markets and invest in the delivery of vital goods and services, creating good jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity along the way. They have been rapidly expanding over the past few years.