Global development cooperation in a COVID-19 world

Homi Kharas

Article ID: 1245
Vol 5, Issue 1, 2021

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COVID-19 and the economic response have amplified and changed the nature of development challenges in fundamental ways. Global development cooperation should adapt accordingly. This paper lays out the urgency for new methods of development cooperation that can deliver resource transfers at scale, oriented to addressing climate change and with transparency and better governance. It looks at what is actually happening to major donor countries’ development cooperation programs and where the principal gaps lie, and offers some thoughts on how to move forward, notwithstanding the clear geopolitical rivalries that are evident.
The most immediate challenge is to provide a level of liquidity support to countries ravaged by the global economic downturn. Many developing countries will see double-digit declines in GDP, with some recording downturns not seen in peacetime. Alongside the short-term challenge of recovery, COVID-19 has laid bare longer-term trends that have pointed for some time to the lack of sustainability—environmental, social, and governance—in the way economic development was occurring in many places, including in advanced economies. This new landscape has significant implications for development cooperation in terms of scale, development/climate co-benefits, and transparency and accountability.


development cooperation; sustainable infrastructure; COVID-19; sustainable development goals; sovereign debt; Bretton Woods institutions

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