If 2015 was the year for setting goals and signing on to global commitments, 2016 could be the year of figuring out how to pay for it.
Financing to support the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate change accord will have a distinctly different feel than that of the era of Millennium Development Goals. The development finance picture today bears little resemblance to that of only a decade ago.
At that time, official development assistance, public funds given by donor governments through concessional loans and grants, had risen sharply from $85 billion given by Development Assistance Committee countries in 1990 to $128 billion in 2005. The wall between public spending and private investment in developing countries was also more intact. Debates centered on the differences between official development assistance and foreign direct investment and their relative effectiveness at creating results like job growth and reducing inequality, but not on how one could complement the other.
Now the picture is dramatically different. While official development assistance has remained relatively flat, increasing by $6 billion between 2005 and 2014 across DAC countries — and not at all from the largest donor country, the United States — private investment in developing countries has accelerated. In 2010, for the first time, foreign direct investment in developing countries surpassed foreign direct investment in rich countries. Developing countries have also seen the value of remittances from international migrants increase to roughly half a trillion dollars per year; and the international community has placed greater emphasis on the importance of domestic tax revenues to fund national development priorities.
Michael Igoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.
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