How can developing countries learn to tax?

By Antonio Savoia, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester; Roberto Ricciuti, University of Verona and CESifo; and Kunal Sen, UNU-WIDER and Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Development-Finance-shutterstock_524218915The capability to raise revenues from taxes – often called fiscal capacity – is a crucial aspect for the functioning of every state, particularly in developing countries. Two reasons account for this. First, greater fiscal capacity is fundamentally important for state formation, as it is usually associated with the creation of a civilian bureaucracy that can itself provide an enabling environment for the consolidation of statehood. Second, greater fiscal capacity implies greater access to resources needed to provide public goods. Developing countries are only able to raise a small share of taxes over GDP compared to advanced economies. They need higher revenues to invest in a number of economic and social areas that are crucial for their growth, such as healthcare, education and infrastructure. This is also relevant to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, an ambitious enterprise requiring far greater resources. Indeed, SDG 17 explicitly refers to the mobilisation of government revenues (Target 17.1).

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Trillions for the SDGs? Time for a rethink

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By Nancy Lee, Senior Policy Fellow, Centre for Global Development, and moderator during the PF4SD Conference


To learn more about this timely topic explored during
the Private Finance for Sustainable Development Week,
please visit the 
PF4SD and GPEDC websites.


In 2015, the world enthusiastically signed on to the challenge of transforming billions to trillions of dollars of private finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The idea was to use public and private development aid to unlock much more commercial private finance for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. Four years later, the hoped-for trillions are nowhere in sight. In fact, we have reached the stage where we need to decide whether to change the goals we set in 2015 or take a hard, critical look at the institutions we rely on to propel mobilisation of private finance for sustainable development.

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Visualising urbanisation: How the Africapolis platform sheds new light on urban dynamics in Africa

By Lia Beyeler, Communications Officer and Nisha Schumann, Consultant, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

Africa’s urban population is the fastest growing in the world. By 2050, Africa’s cities will be home to nearly one billion additional people. Yet, where and how Africa’s cities of the future emerge and evolve are insufficiently understood.

Traditionally, the focus has been put on larger cities as opposed to smaller urban agglomerations. Yet, smaller agglomerations with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants represent one-third of Africa’s overall urban population, accounting for more than 180 million people in 2015. Their significance is highlighted by the fact that many of the continent’s future cities are emerging through the fusion of smaller cities or through population densification in rural areas – trends that are not captured in official statistics and government data, which tend to focus on cities as political units with defined boundaries.

The OECD Sahel and West Africa Club’s Africapolis platform, which launched during the 8th Africities Conference in Marrakesh, seeks to bridge the gap in data on African urbanisation dynamics. It provides a powerful tool for governments, policy makers, researchers and urban planners to better understand urbanisation’s drivers, dynamics and impacts. This understanding, in turn, will help design more relevant policies that address the growing challenges of urbanisation at the local, national and regional levels. Continue reading

Why do some countries reduce poverty faster than others?

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By Antonio Savoia, Global Development Institute and Effective States and Inclusive Development Centre, University of Manchester and M Niaz Asadullah, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya; Global Development Institute, University of Manchester


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


poverty-DiT.jpgCan poverty be eradicated is the biggest question for development. Progress in poverty reduction was a central success with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Estimates suggest that as many as one billion people were lifted out of poverty. Since poverty reduction remains important for the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it seems that the time is right to identify why poverty has been reduced so much and why some countries have seen a greater reduction than others.

Our research1 presents new evidence on what facilitates poverty reduction. We find that in more effective states, or in countries with greater state capacity, income poverty has been reduced at a significantly faster speed, and those countries are much more likely to achieve MDG 1 of halving poverty. Our estimates suggest that countries with the highest state capacity can reduce income poverty at up to twice the speed of countries with the weakest capacity.

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Building Trust: How the development community can engage the private sector

By Janet Longmore, Founder & CEO, Digital Opportunity Trust

Giant puzzle pieces

Fundamental to my organisation’s success in delivering local impact against several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been developing an ecosystem of global and local in-country partners. And critical to this ecosystem is private sector participation: Corporate partners bring a different lens on what we do, a welcome push for innovation, creative approaches and efficiencies, and a business-like approach and priority to sustainability. Through mutual trust, we are now co-designing new initiatives that lead to positive impact for development and businesses.

I am a strong advocate for engaging the private sector in effective development. The private sector is often a strong and effective contributor to local development in the countries, cities and towns in which its offices are located and where its employees live, generously supporting local services. The challenge now is to extend local purpose and responsibility from “down the street” to a global perspective within the SDG framework. I advocate for this on the Business Leaders’ Caucus of the Global Partnership (1).

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It is time for a new finance paradigm in development

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By Arthur R Wood, Founding Partner, Total Impact Advisors; Convenor, Project1800.org


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban declared the crusades ostensibly a religious call, but one that reinforced the power of the spiritual over the temporal. To support the crusades, the church built a financial institution by leveraging the Templars under the Papal bull Omnes Datum Optimum, creating a monastic banking system that gave birth to such financial innovations as letters of credit, banking and, by extension, fiduciary products like trusts.

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Turning a commitment into actions

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By Mario Cerutti, Chief Institutional Relations & Sustainability Officer, Lavazza Group


To learn more about countries’ strategies for economic transformation, follow the 10th  Plenary Meeting and High-Level Meeting of the OECD Initiative for Policy Dialogue on Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Developmentin Paris, France on 27-28 June 2018.


logo TOward2030At the beginning of 2017, Lavazza launched ‘’Goal Zero’’ – a call to collective action amongst our many stakeholders to pursue the 17 Global Goals of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The company decided that co-operation, instead of going it alone, is fundamental for any significant results. Still, we faced the question of how to engage different stakeholders in one all-encompassing plan. For Lavazza, answering this means engaging our different stakeholders – employees, youth, suppliers and the surrounding community – using tailored communications tools. We believe that only a strong commitment originating from within Lavazza can, in turn, fuel external communications. So, here’s how we are proceeding:
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