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CGD Policy Blogs

 

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If the World Bank Wants to Move On from the Doing Business Scandal, It Should Take a Look at AidData

Today’s release of a new dataset of over 13,000 Chinese-financed projects in developing countries marks a major contribution to our understanding of China’s role as a lender to the developing world, as well as the ways in which these projects are increasingly structured to avoid accounting for direct liabilities on public balance sheets. At a moment of high debt vulnerability in the developing world, both contributions ought to prove valuable to policymakers in rich and poor countries alike as they seek to work through these problems.  

A road construction project in Sri Lanka. Photo by Deshan Tennekoon/World Bank

In the Secretive World of Government-to-Government Lending, 100 Chinese Debt Contracts Offer a Trove of New Information

Is Chinese financing good for developing countries? Taking stock of China’s lending activities has long been hindered by the lack of publicly available data on dimensions like loan volumes and interest rates, let alone more esoteric features like loan collateral or default contingencies. A pathbreaking new study by researchers at AidData at William & Mary, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Georgetown Law School, and the Center for Global Development changes that.

There Is an Emerging Trump Philosophy for Foreign Assistance

The Trump administration has had very little to say about foreign assistance, apparently preferring to let the budget knife do its talking. But if we want to discern some sort of guiding philosophy to aid coming from this White House, perhaps we should look no further than aid to Israel and Egypt, the number one and number two overall US foreign aid recipients. In a budget that imposes double-digit cuts to programs aimed at disease eradication and response to humanitarian crises, military aid to these two countries has been cut not even by a whisker.

Congress Looks at World Bank, Asks How It Can Do Better

With big cuts to US bilateral and multilateral assistance looming, the House Committee on Financial Services convened a hearing to investigate accountability and results at the World Bank. Scott Morris, CGD’s director of the US Development Policy initiative (DPI), was joined by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Sasha Chavkin, CalTech’s Jean Ensminger, and BIC’s Elana Berger. It was a thoughtful conversation, with everyone on the panel agreeing that it is in the United States’ interest to continue engagement with the World Bank. Here are my main takeaways from the hearing.

The World Bank's New Safeguards: A Step Forward or Back? – Podcast with Scott Morris

A multi-year project just came to fruition with the endorsement by the Board of the World Bank of its new set of safeguards—the social and environmental standards that govern Bank-funded projects in client countries. CGD's expert on multilateral development banks, senior fellow Scott Morris, reacted to the new policies in a recent blog post, and joins me this week on the CGD Podcast to discuss. 

Doing More than Safeguarding the Safeguards at the World Bank

Depending on who you listen to, the World Bank has either just launched an unprecedented reach into the domestic political affairs of sovereign nations, or it has gutted the rules that have helped define its essential character as a global norm-setter. Both can’t be right, and most likely, neither is. To better understand the objectives of the bank's newly adopted “safeguards” regime, and why I’m somewhat encouraged by it, it’s worth looking more closely at the arguments of critics on both sides.

A Lot of Vision, A Little Time: Gayle Smith’s First Major Policy Speech

Yesterday, USAID Administrator Gayle Smith delivered her first major policy speech in a cavernous Capitol Hill auditorium that was filled to capacity. Introducing USAID’s new head, Senator David Perdue expressed hope that Smith would have more time in the job than she thought she would. That’s remarkably high praise from a Republican senator in a year that will mark the end of the Obama administration.

Changes at the Rethink Initiative

After two and a half great years as director of CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, I’m handing over the reins to my colleague Scott Morris.  Many of you will know Scott as a CGD Senior Fellow with deep experience from the Treasury and on Capitol Hill.  He’s a thought leader on many US development issues, especially the multilateral development banks and international debt.  Rethink could not be in better hands as we start thinking about a new administration and Co

Dismantling US Leadership One Budget at a Time, Part 2

My earlier post on congressional funding for multilateral institutions betrayed little optimism about the Senate’s willingness to restore devastating funding cuts imposed by the House of Representatives. I had no idea.

The newly released Senate funding levels are just barely an improvement over the House’s draconian cuts, slashing the president’s multilateral budget in half. When cuts of 50 percent mark an improvement, you know you’re in trouble.