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The fiscal costs of PPPs in the spotlight

Maria Romero

16 Mar 2018 10:05:51

This article was originally published in the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly being promoted as a way to finance development projects. To pave the way for PPPs, donor governments and financial institutions, led by the World Bank Group, have set up multiple donor initiatives to promote changes in national regulatory frameworks, to provide advice and to finance PPP projects. The value of PPPs in the developing world has grown rapidly since 2004 - over an eight-year period, investments through PPPs increased by a factor of six, from US$25 billion to US$164 billion.[1] Since then, the trend has been more volatile - although investment in PPPs fell in 2013, they picked up again and continued to increase in 2014 and in 2015 (US$104 and US$118 ...

Why blended finance is a feminist issue

Polly Meeks

08 Mar 2018 16:14:18

This International Women’s Day we expect to see leaders across the world speaking out in favour of women’s equality and empowerment under this year’s theme of “press for progress”. Top-level political pressure for progress plays an essential role in delivering a world where the rights of women and girls are respected, protected and fulfilled. However, strong political commitments need to be matched by coherent policies at all levels – including on all forms of development finance. One increasingly fashionable form of finance is blending – combining concessional public finance (such as aid) with commercial finance to fund development-related activities in the global south. But until recently, blending had received less attention from a women’s rights perspective. In November ...

Towards new Guiding Principles: United Nations discusses the human rights impact of economic reforms

Mark Perera

01 Mar 2018 13:39:42

This week, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights presented a report to the Human Rights Council on the development of guiding principles to put human rights at the forefront of economic policy-making in moments of crisis. As the enjoyment of universal human rights continues to be undermined by austerity and irresponsible sovereign lending and borrowing, is the IMF taking full responsibility for its role in ensuring governments meet their obligations under international human rights law?   Economic reforms turn a blind eye to human rights Evidence of the damaging impact of austerity on human rights across the globe continues to mount. From the legacy of IMF structural adjustment in indebted low-income countries, to the effects of public spending cuts across Europe ...

A Knotty Problem: Turning Words into Action on Tied Aid

Polly Meeks

21 Feb 2018 08:13:03

This article was originally published in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.   “Tied aid doesn’t work.” That was the verdict of the UK’s top development minister at a recent parliamentary hearing. And the evidence bears the minister out. Tied aid – aid that can only be used to buy goods or services from the country providing the aid – is having a negative impact on the world’s poorest people. Tied aid generally costs more than untied aid – an estimated 15 – 30 % more for many goods and services, and more still in the case of food aid. It also tends to deliver less, since it is less well suited to local contexts and preferences. This isn’t just a question of bean counting. Tied aid is used in sectors from emergency response ...

The Doing Business Report: a longstanding controversy

Gino Brunswijck

01 Feb 2018 11:11:21

Recent criticism of Chile’s ranking in the Doing Business Report (DBR) has once again put the report in the spotlight, with renewed calls for scrapping the highly controversial annual World Bank publication. Over the years Eurodad has consistently demanded an end to the DBR because of its lack of scientific rigour and biased policy orientation.   The DBR has been published each year since 2002, ranking countries on 11 indicators which measure the ‘ease of doing business’. The indicators are intended to measure the impact of business regulations - such as registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders - on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The report is highly influential and gets considerable media coverage. It has recorded nearly 3200 business reforms ...

Is blended finance a silver bullet or a double-edged sword?

Polly Meeks

31 Jan 2018 08:47:04

This article was originally published in Public Finance International.More debate on the interaction between aid and the private sector is needed, but must be led by the voices and priorities of the poorest people, says Polly Meeks of Eurodad. Blended finance is dominating discussions at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development this week. Blended finance, or blending, is a slippery concept – but typically it means combining concessional public finance (such as aid) with commercial finance, to fund development-related activities in the global south. For the OECD, blending holds a big part of the answer to financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a subject explored in more depth at this week’s OECD conference on Private Finance ...

Strong safeguards are needed when investing public money via private financial intermediaries

Martin Atkin

25 Jan 2018 14:38:46

You wouldn’t just hand your money over to someone else to invest without asking them what they were going to do with it, would you? If you were a public body, at the very least you’d want to make sure it wasn’t used in a way that damaged the environment or undermined human rights. Increasingly, however, there are concerns that development finance institutions (DFIs - government-backed institutions that invest in private sector projects in developing countries) - are lending money to private sector financial intermediaries (FIs) to invest in infrastructure projects in developing countries - without ensuring that proper environmental and social safeguards are in place. These intermediaries - private commercial banks, private equity funds and infrastructure funds - are essentially go-betweens ...

Financing for Development: Time for the UN to Take Centre Stage Again

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:58:56

This article was originally published in Triple Crisis.Little progress has been made since the last conference of the United Nations Financing for Development (FfD) process, held in Addis Ababa in July 2015, which agreed the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action (AAAA) – the framework for how the world would finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since Addis, however, there has been little headway and last year’s UN FfD Forum was disappointing, with few concrete outcomes achieved. As the FfD Forum outcome document highlighted, that current policies are not delivering the economic step-change needed to achieve the SDGs. Given the slow rate of reform since Addis, it is clear that global leaders need to work towards a major new set of concrete actions on financing ...

Concern Over Using Aid To Promote Rich Countries' Commercial Interests

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:26:17

This article was originally published in In Depth News. BUSSELS (IDN) – At first glance, the latest figures on Official Development Assistance (ODA) – or aid – make encouraging reading. According to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which compiles the data and sets the rules on what counts as aid, global ODA increased by more than ten percent to $145 billion in 2016. But dig behind the headline figure and the picture is less rosy, with only six of the DAC’s 30 member countries meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. The average is less than half that. Meanwhile, the DAC’s measure of aid that does actually reach developing countries shows a dramatic decline from $117 billion to $103 billion in 2015 (latest available figures). ...

G20 lands in South America and puts infrastructure financing centre stage

Maria Romero

14 Dec 2017 13:04:11

For the first time a South American country - Argentina - is president of the G20, and theoretically at least, the whole continent has a major opportunity to make its voice heard. When it took over the presidency at the beginning of December, the Argentinean government announced one of its priorities would be 'infrastructure for development'. So far so good - along with many other South American governments, Argentina is making the right noises, but questions remain about what kind of infrastructure will get financed, and how.   To mark the beginning of the new G20 presidency, civil society groups led by Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) organised an inspiring gathering to discuss, among other things, the growing trend of promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) ...