The UK is about to merge development and diplomacy in a single department: the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about that, but CGD colleagues have pointed out some opportunities as well. One area where combining the talents of DFID and Foreign Office staff could be turned into a positive sum is in the area of global public goods.
CGD Policy Blogs
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.
A new ICAI report issued this week suggests that large parts of UK aid spending on research and development remain hampered by a design that favors British researcher interests over urgent research topics and capacity prioritized by the world’s poorest countries. The next few months are a perfect opportunity to fix that problem, because the two most problematic funds are up for renewal.
Building Back Better: Creating Resilience in Critical Supply Chains While Supporting Global Development
Policy forged at pace and during extreme circumstances will often leave something wanting. We want more resilient supply chains, but we shouldn’t sacrifice the benefits that existing supply chains have created, nor should we needlessly penalize developing countries in the race for resilience.
Over the last sixty years, we have seen many changes in what constitutes a "rich" country, but little difference in what counts as a poor country requiring significant development assistance. While donor status appears more closely tied to relative income, significant recipient status appears to have been effectively tied to a low absolute income. Charles Kenny asks why the world has become stingy.
Philippe Le Houerou, the Chief Executive of the IFC has announced his intention to step down in September. His legacy will include a significant effort to focus the work of the corporation on development impact and the world’s poorest countries. Le Houerou has had some success. But a look at IFC’s portfolio suggests how far the institution still has to go to have the biggest impact.
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.
Imagine the young George Washington said, “I cannot tell a lie. I did not cut down the cherry tree,” then added sotto voce, “’twas the hatchet that did it.” Multilateral development banks (MDBs) and development finance institutions are dissembling in the other direction when it comes to their impact—not unreasonably shifting blame but implausibly taking credit.
Euan Ritchie and Charles Kenny take a closer look at the Newton Fund and ask if it is focused on the right places.
Directing innovation to overcome barriers to development in the world’s poorest countries is surely a good use of aid, then. But who should decide the barriers to overcome, and how should the research and development be supported?