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CGD Policy Blogs


An image showing solar panels and a city skyline in the background.

What Are the Development Outcomes of Development Finance?

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?

Abstract image of a network, with two sides joining together

Governing Data for Development: Where Are We Now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust digital issues into the spotlight by highlighting the importance of government access to accurate and timely information for public health surveillance and accelerating the shift towards a digital-first approach in many countries, due to the need to provide services at a distance. It has also brought to the forefront difficult questions about the limits that should be placed on governments and companies that seek to use potentially sensitive data to monitor the spread of disease and target public health efforts.

Screenshot of a video from the event Data as a Development Issue

Reconciling Calls for “More and Better Data” with “Responsible Data Use”

The “more and better data” movement is based on the premise that well-intentioned governments can better serve the poor and vulnerable if they have basic information about them. Until recently, this notion would have seemed uncontroversial. But growing concern about the risks created by the misuse of data—particularly personal data—has led to a shift in attitudes in the development community.

Mobile phone reception coverage map of Tanzania.

How Much Would It Cost to Extend Mobile Coverage to Everyone in Tanzania?

Less than 45 percent of the area of Tanzania is covered by any form of cell phone reception. Telecom providers target high-population areas first, so the percentage of the population covered by the cell phone signal is 83 percent. But the problem is that the remaining 17 percent of the population, or 9.2 million people, is spread over 55 percent of the country—meaning the density of potential users is low. Especially because rural populations tend to be poorer than city dwellers, the revenue generated per cell tower may be too low to justify rollout.