In this blog, we draw on our newly published Finance for International Development (FID) measure, using the most up-to-date data now available (from 2018) to give an idea of the baseline efforts of the G20. We hope ministers and officials will use this information in considering the level of their and others’ financial commitments (given their income levels) and encourage a step up from the laggards—most obviously Argentina, Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
CGD Policy Blogs
My guest on the Wonkcast this week is Scott Morris, a senior associate here at CGD and former deputy assistant secretary at the US Treasury, where he oversaw US ties with the multilateral development banks.
Scott recently led a study group of CGD colleagues and outside experts that reviewed G-20 efforts to increase financing for infrastructure in developing countries. The group produced a short note proposing five new deliverables for the G-20 on infrastructure finance. (See Scott’s blog post with Madeleine Gleave for an even shorter version.)
The agenda for the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Sydney this weekend focuses on two themes: promoting stronger economic growth and employment and making the global economy more resilient. The G-20 leaders have recognized that expanding and strengthening capital markets in developing countries is crucial to both these goals and member countries have identified this as a priority issue for their deliberations.
Lost in all of the noise of the post-Lehman crisis response was an important structural shift in the international development landscape: a much bigger footprint for the regional development banks relative to the World Bank.
Starting in 2009, the G20 pursued a number of measures to help developing countries weather the crisis, one of the most visible of which was an agreement to have the multilateral development banks (MDBs) lend aggressively into the crisis, paired with the commitment of new capital from the institutions’ shareholders in subsequent years.
The Australians are using their G-20 presidency to make a fresh start with the group’s infrastructure agenda, launching a new “Infrastructure and Investment” working group this week in Mexico City.
And not a moment too soon. A recent CGD study group Scott chaired concluded that this highly compelling agenda risks becoming a stale one absent some new approaches.
The big headline from Pittsburgh was the G-20 officially becoming the recognized grouping on “global economic issues”, eclipsing forever the nearly four-decade role of the G-7/8.
CGD president Nancy Birdsall urged the United States to exercise leadership at the upcoming G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in a speech today at the Center for Global Development.
The U.S. House and Senate passed the $105.9 billion war supplemental last week, which includes $5 billion to secure $108 billion in additional lending by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Congress’s approval for increased IMF lending supports President Obama’s G20 commitments and paves the way to unlock the $1 trillion (mostly contributions from other high-income countries) for emerging and developing countries coping with the economic crisis.
If the commitments made last week by the heads of state at the G-20 meeting materialize quickly, this is good news indeed. The increase in available IMF and MDB resources for middle- and low-income countries, along with IMF’s announcement of a Flexible Credit Line which will allow countries to borrow amounts without pre-determined limits or conditionality, are crucial for helping these countries cope with the impact of the financial crisis.