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‘Big Bond’ Approach To Foreign Aid Could Maximize Efficiency Of Donor Resources In Africa

Project Syndicate: A Big Bond for Africa
Nancy Birdsall, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister of Nigeria and managing director of the World Bank and distinguished visiting fellow at CGD

“…While governments in Africa are spending more on public infrastructure themselves, outside finance is still required, especially for regional projects, which are rarely a top priority for national governments. Yet aid from Africa’s traditionally generous foreign donors, including the United States and Europe, is now set to shrink, owing to political and economic constraints. But there may be a solution that helps Africa recover its growth in a way that Western leaders and their constituents find acceptable. We call it the ‘Big Bond’ — a strategy for leveraging foreign aid funds in international capital markets to generate financing for massive infrastructure investment. … The Big Bond approach represents a much-needed update to the ODA framework — one that supports higher and more sustainable growth in recipient countries, while lowering the burden on donor countries. At a time when aid is under political pressure, perhaps such a bold approach to maximizing the efficiency of donor resources is exactly what the world needs” (4/17).

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