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In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Borrowing is a critical source of financing for human and physical investment. Yet for developing countries borrowing presents unique financial challenges the investment it supports often has diffuse and long-term benefits. Going into the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of developing countries were facing difficulties in managing their debt, which have been aggravated in the wake of the pandemic.
In this body of work, CGD experts address the following questions: How should borrowing be used to overcome the immediate crisis and relaunch a sustainable and resilient recovery? Can debt relief provide a short-term palliative? For how long? When should longer-term debt restructuring be considered? How can the global community deal help developing countries deal with private sector debt? What is the role of “new” official creditors that were not part of previous debt relief initiatives?
Next week, President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and other global leaders will meet with Sudanese leadership to discuss the upcoming referendum. The stakes are huge. In January, southern Sudanese will vote on whether to secede and launch a new, independent country. It’s hard to imagine them not supporting the breakaway vote given their decades’ long fight for independence. Roughly 2 million people died in that struggle. The multi-million dollar question is – what will Khartoum do? Will they let the referendum happen? Will it be fair and transparent? If so, will they respect the results? The meeting next week will grapple with these critical issues.
In this essay Steven Radelet explains how since the mid 1990s seventeen Sub-Saharan African states have transcended the conflict and dictatorships of decades past to establish themselves as burgeoning world states. Approaching the discussion by delineating between cultural differences across the region, Radelet offers a dynamic analysis of the new and encouraging growth observed in several African countries.
As the International Development Association (IDA) pushes for more funding for the neediest and most vulnerable countries, visiting fellow Ben Leo examines whether IDA’s existing performance-based allocation system (PBA) gives the developing world its fair share of funds. He says the system already has several built-in biases toward the neediest, but some donors feel it is not enough.
CGD recently hosted a conversation with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria on several key issues facing his country. He addressed access to electricity and electoral reform as two of Nigeria’s most pressing development challenges.
The Jubilee 2000 movement, which called for the cancellation of the foreign debts of the poorest nations, became one of the most successful international, nongovernmental movements in history. David Roodman provides thumbnail assessments of Jubilee 2000 from several perspectives, deemphasizing anecdotes and statistics in favor of major themes.
The British proposal to create an International Finance Facility in order to 'frontload' $50 billion in aid per year until 2015 has generated a lot of attention and will likely be a major topic at the G8 meeting this July. But the IFF has also been shrouded in confusion and misconceptions. This paper explains the IFF proposal and highlights some of the common misunderstandings surrounding it, including the mechanics of the scheme itself, the potential for a U.S. role, and the expectations of aid which underlie the IFF’s premise. The UK deserves plaudits for elevating global poverty on the international agenda and for seeking ways to better harness the power of private capital markets for development. But the IFF, as currently conceived, is an idea that merits more scrutiny and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Braving freezing temperatures and gusty winds, hundreds of development experts and members of the policy community packed a Washington hotel ballroom for a discussion with David Gergen on the outlook for global development policy under new U.S. president Barack Obama. Gergen, an advisor to four presidents and senior political analyst for CNN, sees both opportunities and risks in the years ahead.
Although nearly all poor countries are classified by the World Bank as IDA-only, Nigeria stands out as a notable exception. Indeed, Africa’s most populous country is the poorest country in the world that is not classified as IDA-only. Under the World Bank’s own criteria, however, Nigeria has a strong case for reclassification. IDA-only status would have two potential benefits for Nigeria. First, it would expand Nigeria’s access to IDA resources and make the country eligible for grants. Second, it would strengthen Nigeria’s case for debt reduction. With a renewed economic reform effort getting under way and the emerging use of debt reduction as a tool for assisting economic and political transitions, the UK, the US, and other official creditors should support such a move as part of a broader strategy for encouraging progress in one of Africa’s most important countries.
Two countries alone hold over 25 percent of Sudan’s crippling $35 billion debt burden. I’ll give you three guesses at who they might be. China? United States? France? All would be reasonable choices. But, they also would be wrong. In fact, Sudan’s two largest creditors are Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Sudan owes the Kuwaiti government roughly $6 billion and the Saudi Government over $3 billion. Despite a flurry of recent loans, China is only number five on the list. These rankings represent more than monetary values owed – rather, they illustrate who will have the most important voices around the debt workout table when the time comes.