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CGD Policy Blogs


Sunset at a natural gas plant. Adobe Stock

Climate Colonialism Update: More Proposed Bans on Financing of Fossil Fuels (Only for the Poor)

Earlier this year, I wrote about the ban on the international financing of fossil fuels, proposed by Special Envoy John Kerry and others. I argued that such a ban would be particularly devastating for poor countries that are reliant on institutions such as the World Bank to finance much-needed energy projects. For now, the world’s richest countries (also the largest shareholders in the World Bank) have allowed the financing of natural gas projects when no other alternative is available. But this may not last long,

The US capitol building

How Congress Is Turning DFC into an Agency Serving Poland and Israel but not Senegal or Ghana

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is the $60 billion agency that’s supposed to catalyze investment to capital-starved countries, bolster job-creation in emerging markets, and support US foreign policy. The BUILD Act which created the DFC was a bipartisan bill, carefully crafted to overcome long-standing objections from both liberals and conservatives to its beleaguered predecessor agency.  Recent actions from the Hill and the White House, each one arguably unobjectionable on its own, all add up to a highly worrying erosion of the DFC’s mandate—that threaten both the political bargain that sustains the agency and US strategic goals across Africa.

On-Grid or Off-Grid Electricity? African Consumers Say…We Want Both

In the push for electricity access in the developing world, many policymakers are trying to figure out where on-grid or off-grid solutions make the most sense. My new paper asks 39,000 consumers in 12 African countries about their energy use and demand. The big takeaway: African consumers don’t view grid versus off-grid as a binary question.

Do African Countries Consume Less (or More) Electricity than Their Income Levels Suggest?

 Are some countries too poor to consume a lot more energy? Or is income growth being held back by a lack of reliable and affordable electricity? While there is a strong relationship between energy consumption and income, the direction of causality is often far less clear. One way to estimate unmet demand may be to try to compare pairs of countries—e.g., how much additional energy does Kenya need to reach the level of Tunisia?