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  • Author: Stijn Claessens, Liliana Rojas-Suarez
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As recently as 2011, only 42 percent of adult Kenyans had a financial account of any kind; by 2014, according to the Global Findex, database that number had risen to 75 percent. [1] In sub­Saharan Africa, the share of adults with financial accounts rose by nearly half over the same period. Many other developing countries have also recorded gains in access to basic financial services. Much of this progress is being facilitated by the digital revolution of recent decades, which has led to the emergence of new financial services and new delivery channels. Whereas payment services often are the entry point into using formal financial services, they are not the only low­cost and widely accessible financial services being delivered in recent years. Driven by advances in new digital payment services, small­scale credit and new modes for delivering insurance services are being offered in several developing countries. Digital (payment) records are being used to make decisions about provision of credit to small businesses or individuals who do not have traditional collateral or credit history to secure loans. Additionally, affordable mobile systems have led to the provision of new and innovative financial services that would not be economically sustainable under the traditional brick­and­mortar model such as mobile­based crop microinsurance in sub­Saharan Africa and pay­as­you­go energy delivery models for off­grid customers in India, Peru, and Tanzania. [2] Increased access to basic financial services, especially payments services, by larger segments of the population reflects the growing use of digital technologies in developing countries. Simultaneously, the adoption of proper regulation based on country­specific opportunities, needs and conditions has been critical.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Most money and responsibility for health in large federal countries like India rests with subnational governments — states, provinces, districts, and municipalities. The policies and spending at the subnational level affect the pace, scale, and equity of health improvements in countries that account for much of the world’s disease burden: India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Fiscal transfers between levels of government can — but do not always — play an important role in turning money into outcomes at the subnational level. Well designed, transfers can help put states on a level financial playing field by equalizing spending across states and adjusting allocations for the health risks of each state’s population. Transfers can increase accountability and create incentives for greater spending or effectiveness in service delivery. But transfers are rarely designed with attention to their desired outcomes. To get to better outcomes, international experience suggests that transfers need to be reexamined and reformed along three dimensions. First, central government’s allocation of national revenues to subnational governments should respond to needs and population size. Second, transfers should generate incentives to improve subnational governments’ spending quality and performance on outcomes. Third, independent systems to monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback data on subnational performance can generate greater accountability to the central government, parliaments, and legislatures as well as to citizens. These insights are seemingly simple and suggestive, but each country starts from its own unique history that requires careful technical analysis and political savvy to define reforms with genuine potential to improve health.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Claudio Contador
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The opening of the reinsurance market in Brazil finally took place in 2007, amidst euphoria and great expectations. The process lasted nearly two decades, with little movement, to the great frustration of the companies, international investors and, especially, the domestic insurance market, which was in need of modernization and less government involvement. The exhaustion of the nationalized reinsurance model created in 1939 was evident by the 1990s and became even more visible in that decade, in the face of opportunities for insurance offered by the large investments in infrastructure, and rural, environmental and disaster insurance, among others.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Financial Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Global Focus