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IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare & social protection?

Jesse Griffiths, Gino Brunswijck

07 May 2018 11:28:22

The IMF tried last year to counter long-running accusations that its lending and advice programmes damage health outcomes in developing countries, but the independent evidence points in the opposite direction. The question is whether the IMF will use this year’s reviews of its conditionality and of lending facilities for low-income countries (LICs) to switch approach and start helping  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The IMF claims to protect health expenditure An IMF blog from March last year claimed that: “A number of studies have found that IMF support for countries’ reforms, on average, either preserve or increase public health spending.” However, the evidence provided was weak. Of the six ...

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The EU must put poverty reduction before corporate profits when financing development

Maria Romero

27 Apr 2018 09:10:26

The article was originally published at EurActiv.comThe EU’s plan to expand its External Investment Plan to finance development projects is not backed up by evidence, writes María José Romero and Isabelle Brachet. María José Romero is Policy and Advocacy Manager at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad). Isabelle Brachet is ActionAid International EU Advocacy Advisor. In recent years, the EU has come to regard investments by the private sector as the silver bullet when it comes to financing development projects. The latest indication of this is the European Commission’s plan to expand the €4 billion European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) as it prepares the proposal for the next EU budget. The EFSD is a central pillar of the External Investment Plan ...

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Public-private partnerships don't work. It's time for the World Bank to take action.

Maria Romero

26 Apr 2018 13:48:31

This article was initially published at DevexThis week, executive directors of the World Bank were handed a letter signed by more than 80 civil society organizations and trade unions from around the world, urging a change in the bank’s approach to public-private partnerships. This action, during the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings, should not have come as a surprise. It is part of a global campaign on PPPs launched last October with the support of more than 150 organizations that are exasperated by the lack of action on this critical issue. The campaign manifesto outlines CSOs’ alarm at the increasing promotion of PPPs to deliver infrastructure projects and public services around the world, and in particular the World Bank’s role in energetically promoting ...

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2017 development aid figures: A half empty mixed bag

Jeroen Kwakkenbos

19 Apr 2018 08:16:57

Last week the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their preliminary figures on the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA), or development aid, raised in 2017. The week before I wrote a blog outlining Eurodad’s expectations for these figures – and the results are a mixed bag. While certain negative trends seem to be on the mend, overall the amount of aid raised every year has stagnated in volume and although there was positive economic growth across donor countries ODA dropped to 0.31% of Gross National Income (GNI). The continued inclusion of costs not directly linked to development and poverty eradication inflate the figures and undermines the credibility of the reporting exercise of a scarce resource ...

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European Parliament sounds the alarm over developing world debt crisis

Mark Perera

17 Apr 2018 15:50:58

This article has been originally published in EurActiv.The number of poor countries facing major debt crises has doubled since 2013, and only 1 in 5 are now considered to be at low risk of crisis. With some countries in the midst of crisis and others on the brink, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a pipe dream, writes Mark Perera. The debt burden of developing countries has been rising fast, both in absolute terms, and in relation to economic indicators such as GDP, export earnings, and government revenue – trends are driven by a number of factors. Monetary policy decisions in advanced economies introduced in the wake of the global financial crisis, including by the European Central Bank, triggered a lending boom to the developing world.  Falls ...

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IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare?

Jesse Griffiths, Gino Brunswijck

12 Apr 2018 16:16:07

The article was initially published in the Global Health Check. Last year, the IMF tried to counter long-running accusations that its programmes damage health outcomes in developing countries, but the independent evidence points in the opposite direction. The question is whether the IMF will use this year’s reviews of its lending to switch approach and start helping Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The IMF claims to protect health expenditure An IMF blog from March last year claimed that: “A number of studies have found that IMF support for countries’ reforms, on average, either preserve or increase public health spending.” However, the evidence provided was weak. Of the six studies referenced, ...

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Upcoming aid (ODA) numbers: will the decline in resources reaching poor countries be halted?

Jeroen Kwakkenbos

05 Apr 2018 11:08:38

Next week the OECD DAC will release preliminary figures for the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA), or development “aid”, raised by its member states. Recent years have seen a significant increase in spending within donor countries and a steady decline of resources flowing to the world’s poorest countries: will the new figures demonstrate that the international community has begun to tackle these trends which diminish the credibility and effectiveness of ODA? Over the past two years the OECD DAC has celebrated a rise in overall ODA levels but, counterintuitively, the amount of aid going to the world’s poorest countries has declined. In a recent report the IMF notes: “Aid flows to [Low-Income Developing Countries] … have slipped significantly since 2013—declining ...

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Will rising international concern over a new debt crisis be matched by action?

Mark Perera

26 Mar 2018 12:00:51

Number of poor countries facing major debt crises doubles since 2013, says IMF, but are remedies robust enough? Last week, the IMF has turned up the volume on warnings of a new debt crisis in the Global South. In a report looking at macroeconomic developments in 59 of the world’s poorest countries (low-income developing countries or LIDCs), the IMF paints a bleak picture of rising debt risks and what this means for development spending. Forty per cent of LIDCs are now deemed to be at high risk of or in debt distress, with the most dramatic increases in debt vulnerabilities since 2013 generally being seen in Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, only one in five are considered to be at low risk: the lowest proportion since 2007.   What’s driving the downward debt trend? Eurodad and ...

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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 ...

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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 ...