By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.
This Joint Staff Advisory Note focuses on the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) for Haiti. The I-PRSP outlines the main areas of actions envisaged by the authorities to reduce poverty as well as the steps to be undertaken in the preparation of the full Poverty Reduction Strategy. The I-PRSP presents a good diagnostic of the current dimensions of poverty in Haiti. It also covers well the authorities’ macroeconomic objectives and the broad measures necessary to reach these objectives.
The NDP aims at transforming Côte d’Ivoire into an emerging market and halving the poverty rate. The framework for poverty reduction can be improved by developing a program of targeted interventions to support growth in key strategic sectors, public investment management, maintaining fiscal and debt sustainability and implementation of energy sector reforms. The fiscal strategy focuses on scaling up public investment and sustainability. The public sector investment program and the macroeconomic projections of the PND are a good strategy. Risks to successful implementation are exogenous shocks, resistance to structural reforms, and sociopolitical instability in the country.
This poverty reduction strategy paper on Nicaragua shows that the main obstacles to poverty reduction are related to culture, historical, and structural factors, as well as weak public policy. The lack of proper physical infrastructure, the weaknesses in the energy matrix, the flaws in the health, education, and potable water systems, and the precarious presence of state institutions in the territory have all contributed to the lack of success in poverty reduction. The country’s potential in agriculture and natural resources are the main areas of opportunity regarding economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Growth and Social Protection Strategy (GSPS) attaches great importance to the promotion of economic growth and job creation, given the nature of poverty in Dominica. The GSPS also stresses that existing health and education programs are essential to foster growth in the medium and long terms, but further efforts are needed. The GSPS contains a macroeconomic framework that is consistent with the proposed objectives of poverty reduction. The growth and fiscal targets envisaged in the macroeconomic framework are also consistent with the objective of maintaining public debt sustainability.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the macro-fiscal implications of an increase in infrastructure spending, considering Israel’s dual economy character. The efficiency of investment is key to ensuring growth benefits are achieved and to containing increases in the public debt ratio. Selecting projects with low rates of return, managing public investment inefficiently, or raising investment faster than absorptive capacity, can lead to weaker growth benefits and higher debt ratios that reduce the room to sustain increased public investment. Growth benefits will likely be insufficient to prevent a significant increase in debt ratios, indicating a need for revenue measures, where reductions in tax benefits are preferable. Allowing the public debt ratio to rise as much as 10 percentage points appears too high as Israel faces wider uncertainties than most advanced economies and it should also preserve fiscal space to facilitate structural reforms for long-term growth. Given Israel’s very low civilian spending, the government should consider financing most of the additional investment with additional revenues. Israel’s sizable foregone revenue from various tax benefits—around 5 percent of GDP per year—suggests significant scope for revenue gains. Our analysis also suggests that reducing tax benefits is least detrimental to growth, which in turn would be most positive for debt dynamics.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper describes the World Bank’s mission in a changing world. Conditionality of the Bank is different in several ways as it operates over a longer timeframe and relates to the more comfortable issues of economic growth rather than financial stabilization. The longer timeframes of the Bank’s programs require reaching agreement with borrowing countries on the desirability of maintaining the course that’s being advocated for an extended period. Many developing countries are unduly sensitive about the possibility that they may have to exercise their sovereignty more forcefully in the future.