Engaging citizens for sustainable development: Core business for a better recovery

By the Co-Chairs of the OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom): Nanette Braun, Chief, Communications Campaigns Service, UN Department of Global Communications, Amalia Navarro, Director of Communications, Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and Mathilde Schneider, Director of Communications, French Development Agency (AFD)


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


devcom-covid19Those of us who work in sustainable development need no convincing: to overcome global challenges, we need global collaboration and solidarity. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this need clearer than ever. We face vastly different situations, but we are all connected and all responsible for our common future. We can rebuild from this crisis if all of us – all countries and all citizens – play our part.

Yet, we know that not everyone is convinced about sustainable development, and some vocal critics are using this historic crisis to promote national isolationism. So how do you address people who want to go it alone and do away with multilateral organisations? It’s fairly easy to convince people to stay healthy by washing their hands, but how do you convince them to respect gender equality, reduce their carbon footprint or help achieve our other global goals? Continue reading

COVID-19 and the global contraction in foreign direct investment

By Adnan Seric, Research and Industrial Policy Officer at the Department of Policy Research and Statistics (PRS) at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Jostein Hauge, Research Fellow at the Centre for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (Institute for Manufacturing) at the University of Cambridge


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


shutterstock_163440290COVID-19 is uprooting economic globalisation. As both supply and demand are experiencing simultaneous shocks due to lockdown measures, global production networks and international trade flows are being disrupted on a scale never seen before. Disruptions to flows of portfolio and foreign direct investments (FDI) — which are part and parcel of economic globalisation — are no exception. According to the International Monetary Fund, investors removed over US$100 billion of portfolio investment from developing countries since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the largest capital outflows ever recorded. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global FDI flows are expected to contract by 40% during 2020/21.

The contraction in FDI is going to hit developing countries particularly hard, mainly for two reasons. First, FDI inflows to developing countries are expected to drop even more than the global average seeing that sectors that have been severely impacted by the pandemic account for a larger share of FDI inflows in developing countries. Second, developing countries have become more reliant on FDI over the last few decades — FDI inflows to developing countries increased from US$14 billion to US$706 billion (current prices) between 1985 and 2018, as seen from Figure 1. As a share of world FDI inflows, this represents an increase from 25% to 54%. Continue reading

COVID-19 has threatened medical equipment supply chains: it is in developing countries’ interest to rebuild them better

By Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD and Annalisa Primi, Head, Structural Policies and Innovation Unit, OECD Development Centre


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


supply-chains-medicalSupply chain breakdowns and the revival of export restrictions in strategic sectors underline the importance of domestic and regional manufacturing capabilities.

Trade can be instrumental for development. But increasing concentration in global markets and repeated threats and rounds of tariff hikes are putting the global trading system, and the institutions around which it was built, under severe stress. The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated these tensions, precipitating the World Trade Organization (WTO) into a stalemate and leading many economies to simultaneously enact temporary export bans and restrictions on critical goods. All at a time when these goods are more needed than ever before, amidst a pandemic which has put vast parts of the planet under lockdown and limited economic activities in an unprecedented way.

Global annual growth this year might fall between 6% and 7.6% according to the OECD’s latest projections and economies in all regions of the world will shrink. Developing economies will likely be hit the hardest due to their role in global trade. Most developing economies specialise in supplying commodities. Their exports have been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis, as demand for natural resources has plummeted, prices have collapsed, and traditional exports such as fresh, perishable agricultural products have been blocked due to logistical shortages. Continue reading

COVID-19: super-accelerator or game-changer for international (development) co-operation?

By Stephan Klingebiel, Director of UNDP’s Global Policy Centre in Seoul, Republic of Korea and Artemy Izmestiev, Policy Specialist, UNDP’s Global Policy Centre in Seoul, Republic of Korea


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


development-co-operationThe outbreak of COVID-19 as a global health emergency and the resulting socio-economic crisis is testing global structures of co-operation. The challenges are giving rise to new forms and expressions of transnational solidarity. In an article on COVID-19, “We will come through this together”, the UN Secretary-General reminds us that no country can tackle this issue alone and co-operation is crucial for addressing existing challenges. In April 2020, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Seoul Policy Centre held a series of webinar discussions where think tanks around the world presented their views on what to expect in the area of international (development) co-operation after the pandemic. This blog post, while not intending to represent the views either of our panellists or of UNDP, is informed by those discussions.

We expect that the current global crisis will significantly impact the future framing of development co-operation. As the crisis acquires global dimensions, the provision and support of global public goods seems to become more and more central. Is this a new narrative for development co-operation, particularly with international co-operation budgets coming under increasing pressure in developed countries? Continue reading

Unbundling Corruption: Why it matters and how to do it

By Yuen Yuen Ang, Political Scientist at the University of Michigan, and the author of How China Escaped the Poverty Trap and China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Growth and Vast Corruption

Corruption-whistleblower-shutterstock_1581042757Even amid a global pandemic, corruption persists and manifests itself in multiple forms, ranging from corrupt police extorting truck drivers delivering essential goods, rigged procurement contracts, to politically connected corporations receiving huge bailouts from the government while small businesses are starved of loans they desperately need to stay afloat. Although all of these actions are corrupt, they involve very different actors and stakes; some are transactional while others are extractive; and each brings about vastly different consequences.

Yet the conventional way of measuring corruption across countries does not capture qualitative distinctions across types of corruption. Instead, standard indices—most notably, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI)—measure corruption as a one-dimensional problem, ranging from 0 to 100. Consistently, rich countries rank at the top while poor countries are stuck at the bottom. Continue reading

Why we need Global Public Investment after COVID-19

By Simon Reid-Henry, Reader in Geography and Director, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London


This blog* is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


business-sustainabilityThe COVID-19 response has highlighted the international need for an ongoing pool of public money and explains how Global Public Investment (GPI) would work.

It has been heartening this June to watch the latest Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance) pledging round raise US$8.8 billion, partly in response to COVID-19. It would be more heartening if we didn’t have to live on tenterhooks always, unsure if the goodwill to meet this or that international need will eventually be found. Or whether, as with the US’ denial of contributions to the World Health Organization, it might even be withdrawn.

What is Global Public Investment?

This is the idea behind Global Public Investment (GPI): a system of fixed and multi-directional international fiscal allocations. Think of it as a way of funding global public goods, like a COVID-19 vaccine, or of meeting already agreed international commitments like the Sustainable Development Goals. Either way, GPI would fill a modest but important niche by providing a common pool of public money internationally. Continue reading

Moratoire sur la dette des pays africains : tout le monde doit participer !

Par Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, directrice France de l’ONG ONE


Ce blog fait partie d’une série sur la lutte contre le COVID-19 dans les pays en voie de développement. Visitez la page dédiée de l’OCDE pour accéder aux données, analyses et recommandations de l’OCDE sur les impacts sanitaires, économiques, financiers et sociétaux de COVID-19 dans le monde.


NajatAlors que le monde est confronté à une pandémie mondiale d’une ampleur sans précédent depuis des décennies, les pays africains ont un besoin urgent de ressources financières pour répondre à la crise COVID-19 et à ses retombées économiques, sanitaires et sociales. La Banque mondiale estime que le continent connaîtra sa première récession depuis 25 ans. Les experts de la communauté internationale sont donc confrontés à un problème majeur : comment libérer de manière rapide et à grande échelle les financements nécessaires à la lutte contre la pandémie dans les pays les plus pauvres du monde ?

Il apparait aujourd’hui qu’une des meilleures solutions pour libérer rapidement des ressources financières supplémentaires est d’alléger la dette. En effet, le poids de la dette constitue un problème récurrent auquel doivent faire face de nombreux pays africains. A titre d’exemple, la Gambie alloue neuf fois plus de ressources au remboursement de sa dette extérieure qu’à ses dépenses de santé publique. La place qu’occupe le remboursement de la dette au sein des budgets nationaux des pays pauvres est colossale : en 2020, ce sont 22 milliards de dollars du service de la dette qui sont détenus par d’autres gouvernements, 12 milliards de dollars par des bailleurs multilatéraux, et près de 13 milliards de dollars par créanciers privés (investisseurs et banques commerciales). C’est donc un poids financier qui ne pourra être diminué que si tous les créanciers travaillent ensemble à un allègement généralisé des dettes publiques et privées. Continue reading

América Latina y el Caribe en tiempos del COVID-19: no descuidar a los más vulnerables

Por Federico Bonaglia, Director Adjunto, Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE, y Sebastián Nieto Parra, Jefe de la Unidad de América Latina y el Caribe, Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE.


Este artículo es parte de una serie sobre cómo abordar COVID-19 en los países en desarrollo. Visite la página específica de la OCDE para acceder a los datos, análisis y recomendaciones de la OCDE sobre los impactos sanitarios, económicos, financieros y sociales del COVID-19 en todo el mundo.


Photo by Manuel on UnsplashRead this blog in English

Las medidas de contención necesarias contra el COVID-19 han generado una crisis económica mundial sin precedentes, combinando choques por el lado de la oferta y de la demanda. Ahora, la pandemia está afectando a América Latina y el Caribe y los países se están preparando para el efecto multiplicador que tendrá en la región. Tan solo unos meses antes, a finales de 2019, muchos países de la región tuvieron una ola de protestas masivas impulsadas por un profundo descontento social, aspiraciones frustradas, vulnerabilidad persistente y creciente pobreza. Esta crisis exacerbará estos problemas.

Más allá de la magnitud del impacto en los sistemas de salud que ya son débiles (unos 125 millones de personas aún carecen de acceso a los servicios básicos de salud), el abrumador impacto socioeconómico de la crisis podría recaer desproporcionadamente en los hogares vulnerables y pobres si no se implementan respuestas ambiciosas de política. Continue reading

Impulsando la industrialización de África por medio del empuje del COVID-19

Por Toyin Abiodun, asesor de Industria y Comercio de Rwanda, Maudo Jallow, analista de Industria y Comercio de Ghana y Jonathan Said, jefe de Crecimiento Económico Inclusivo de África, Instituto Tony Blair


Este artículo es parte de una serie sobre cómo abordar COVID-19 en los países en desarrollo. Visite la página específica de la OCDE para acceder a los datos, análisis y recomendaciones de la OCDE sobre los impactos sanitarios, económicos, financieros y sociales del COVID-19 en todo el mundo.


Africa-industrialisation-COVID-19
Imagen cortesía del Instituto Tony Blair

Read the blog in English

África importa cada año productos manufacturados por un valor neto de 232.000 millones de dólares, mientras que exporta productos básicos por un valor neto de 174.000 millones de dólares. Aunque la economía de África creció en promedio un 5,5% anual en los últimos 15 años, la industria manufacturera ha seguido siendo un aspecto estático, que sigue representando sólo el 10% del PIB.

El impacto que COVID-19 está teniendo en las cadenas mundiales de suministro y en el comercio mundial, y la inmensa presión económica que está ejerciendo sobre África -no sólo en la disponibilidad de equipos médicos, sino también de alimentos y otros bienes- indica la importancia de la industrialización del continente. Si bien COVID-19 está creando una importante crisis económica y sanitaria, también presenta una oportunidad para “coger el toro por los cuernos” y acelerar la industrialización de África. Continue reading

Negotiating a royalty pricing agreement: lessons from Liberia

By Stephen E. Shay, Lecturer at Harvard Law School; Iain Steel, independent economics consultant; Gabrielle Beran, Governance and Program Manager, International Senior Lawyers Project-UK (ISLP-UK); Olumide Abimbola, Business Development Lead, CONNEX Support Unit.

Liberia-mining-natural-resources
Mount Nimba, Liberia: an abandoned mining site and the highest point in West Africa

Countries often collect royalties on the sale of their natural resources, but how can they be sure that the price is right when a mining company sells iron ore to its own steel mills? This was the problem faced by Liberia with its largest iron ore mine – and a common problem around the world in mining and many other sectors.

Sales between “related parties”, where the companies share a common owner and are therefore not independent of each other, use a “transfer price[i]” that is supposed to reflect fair market value – the price two independent firms would have agreed transacting at arm’s length. In this article, we describe how governments can make use of pricing agreements with companies to determine transfer prices by reference to international benchmarks, and the importance of reviewing these agreements to ensure they remain fit for purpose over time. We also draw lessons for revenue authorities, host governments and donor partners from the recent renegotiation of a pricing agreement in Liberia. Continue reading