Making Central Bank Digital Currencies Work for Development

Money is going digital, full steam ahead. Within the past five years, interest around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) has exploded. Nearly 100 CBDCs are currently in research or development stages, with CBDCs in Nigeria and the Bahamas already launched. Unlike volatile cryptocurrency assets (e.g., bitcoin and stablecoins), CBDCs offer promising development benefits through central…

Effectively Utilizing Repayable Grants to Help Facilitate Market Creation

There is increasing pressure on International Finance Institutions (IFI) and Development Finance Institutions (DFI) to drive market additionality and creation in lower-income countries and emerging market economies. These institutions regard market creation as key to closing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) financing gap. Market creation requires development finance actors to invest in small- and early-stage…

Growing the Next Crop of Agri-Tech Entrepreneurs Through Innovation and Scale

Although agriculture has been a cornerstone of the Ugandan economy for generations, many farmers in the East African republic earned barely enough in 2013 to provide schooling for their children. Having grown up in smallholder farming families themselves, agri-tech entrepreneurs William Luyinda, Esther Karwera, and Zilla Mary Arach knew these struggles all too well. “Unfortunately,…

Global Change Requires Local Leadership

This post originally appeared in Foreign Policy’s April Issue. Mert Tangonan was stuck. It was 2017, and Tangonan, a native of the Philippines, wanted to persuade the country’s largest banks to accept digital payments. With 99% of the transactions conducted in cash or checks across the nation’s 7,000 islands, the banks had little incentive to…

Fostering an Investment-Friendly Climate in Pakistan

The Pakistan Investment Promotion Activity (IPA) is funded by USAID to support investment in Pakistan by attracting investors, assisting their entry and establishment in the country, securing their retention, and fostering links internally. The activity has four principal objectives. These include addressing the business-enabling regulatory environment for investment promotion, reforming institutional policies including the ease…

3 Building Blocks for Mobilizing Inclusive Climate Finance

The private sector, recognizing the economic threat and global calls to climate action, has mobilized corporate pledges to avert climate disaster and bridge the nearly $4 trillion financing gap for climate financing by 2030. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), nearly 500 global financial services firms agreed to align $130 trillion – some…

Navigating Enterprise-Destroying Pitfalls in SME Assistance

The elusive quest for economic growth is one of much trial and error. Its complexity is multiplied when considering the concurrent goals of resilience, inclusion, sustainability, and being broad-based and private-sector led. Forming an evidence-based and multi-sectoral strategy tackling this very problem is the herculean task that USAID’s latest economic growth policy faces. Even with a great strategy…