As the use of impact bonds continues to grow, we ask whether results-based financing mechanism are able to fulfil their promises.
CGD Policy Blogs
At the end of 2018, the world had seven development impact bonds (DIBs) and more in the pipeline. Yet questions remain about the potential of DIBs—still a new financing instrument—compared to other pay-for-performance arrangements. With a dearth of standard and transparent evaluation methods, it is difficult to reliably assess whether DIBs are good value for money, and if they are, how best to structure them to maximize their efficiency.
In 2013, a CGD working group signaled important benefits of development impact bonds, and worked through some of the “how-to” of design and implementation. Yet five years later, only three development impact bonds have launched.
OPIC recently announced it will invest $2 million in a Development Impact Bond (DIB) aimed at improving the availability and quality of cataract surgery services in Cameroon.
After more than a decade of operations, MCC has made the shift from innovative start-up to established donor agency. “MCC NEXT,” the agency’s new, much-anticipated strategic plan, takes a hard look at how the poverty and development landscape has evolved over the past decade and stakes out the position a more mature MCC should take in this new context.
No one said creating development impact bonds (DIB) was going to be easy, but that hasn’t stopped the development community from trying to get them off the ground. The Fred Hollows Foundation, based in Australia, has been hard at work on a DIB to address cataract blindness in Africa. As the Foundation attracts partners to help fund and implement a pilot of the cataract bond, Dr. Lachlan McDonald, the Foundation’s senior health economist, and Alex Rankin, their Global Lead for Policy, Advocacy & Research, shared some lessons learned so far. With Lachlan and Alex’s permission, we’re turning some of those lessons over to you – we hope they’re useful to others seeking to move ahead with their own DIB.
When designing and implementing Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), practitioners and policy innovators in the developing world will inevitably face the challenge of understanding and adapting SIBs to each government’s legal jurisdiction.
There is no denying that interest in Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) is steadily growing: with investments coming from big banks like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch and approximately 26 SIBs implemented in industrialized countries across the globe (see below for a more detailed listing), an evidence base is starting to accumulate on what works and what doesn’t.
In recent years, donors have been making greater use of performance-based payment approaches to fund development programs. The UK Department for International Development, using the broader term being used across the UK government, has added “Payment by Results” (PbR) to the development lexicon.