The G7 has launched a partnership designed to help developing countries ‘build back better’ after COVID-19. This ambition is coming up against multiple challenges, but the pandemic created an opportunity to transform international development assistance and promote sustainable economic growth. However, the ability to mobilize private capital is limited by a trust deficit that plagues donors and also recipients.
This paper considers proposals – some incremental and some more radical – for mobilizing much higher levels of development finance and establishing more effective and equitable relationships between donors and recipient countries. It evaluates the extent to which development assistance has become a locus of competition between the US and China. It also considers the wide-ranging economic impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the climate crisis. Pressure on the Bretton Woods institutions to reform so that they can meet the scale of the current challenge is growing.
The paper assesses prospects for reform, including for the creation of alternative institutions. It considers several critical sectors – healthcare, climate policy and digital infrastructure – and presents proposals for change. Ultimately, an inclusive approach to development that emphasizes co-creation and accountability may be essential in creating a culture that can enable the necessary investments.