Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

 

Is the IFC Taking On Even Less Risk Than We Suggest? Our Readers Respond

Since the publication of our paper on the IFC’s project portfolio last week, we have received several helpful comments from readers. They plausibly suggest that the portfolio may be (even) less risky than we suggested, with even more space to pivot towards the low income countries where the IFC can make the most difference. But until the IFC publishes more information, we won’t really know.

Aid Transparency and Private Sector Subsidies at the IFC

Vijaya Ramachandran, Ben Leo, Jared Karlow and I have just published two papers looking at where and in what capacity the IFC, OPIC, and selected European development finance institutions (DFIs) are investing their money. The core of the papers is a dataset that Jared painstakingly put together by scraping public documentation about DFI projects. It wasn’t easy because DFIs are considerably behind many aid agencies in releasing usable data on their portfolios. And that lack of transparency presents a significant problem if those same DFIs spend aid money on subsidizing the private sector.

The International Finance Corporation’s Mission Is Facilitating Risky Investments—So Why Is It Taking on Less and Less Risk?

The IFC is designed to catalyze investments in countries that investors might consider too risky to invest in alone. But our recent analysis of IFC’s portfolio found that it is shying away from risky investments, raising serious questions about whether the IFC is focusing on the places where it can make the most difference.

What Is the World Bank Doing to Improve the Lives of Women and Girls?

Today is International Women’s Day. How do we make sure that the fine words and aspirations tripping off the tongues of premiers and ministers this March 8th transfer into tangible progress for women and girls?

One small part of the solution is to make sure that the institutions dedicated to financing and implementing gender and development-related projects and programs are producing positive results. And that small part of the solution still requires some significant change to accomplish.

World Bank’s Flagging Leadership on Contract Transparency

Over the last few years, the World Bank has put a lot of thought and resources behind making contracting more transparent and to build up the capacity of citizens to get what they are paying for through government procurement.  The bank has designed and financed innovative community-driven projects that publish contracts, it has backed programs like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative alongside Open Contracting, it has put together a powerful database of road costs based on World Bank contracts, and it has put out a lot more data on bank-financed contracts themselves.

The Future of the World Bank – Nancy Birdsall

Charles Kenny

Following Robert Zoellick’s announcement that he will step down from the World Bank presidency at the end of June, the World Bank board has called for member countries to submit nominations for his successor, with a fast-approaching  deadline of March 23rd. The board has said it will then narrow the nominations to a short list of three, with the goal of naming a new president before the World Bank/IMF spring meetings in April.

Are the MDGs Useful for Africa?

Good question as the world prepares for the September summit to assess progress. But this is a slightly odd debate here at The Africa Report. The UN Millennium Promise’s Charles Abugre Akelyira seems to think the MDGs are a rejection of economic policy reform: