IDA21 Public Enemy #1: Rising Inequality

Publication date: 1 July 2024
Author: Nathan Coplin

Given the immense financing needs to achieve development goals —nearly $4 trillion annually— Oxfam supports a robust and generous IDA replenishment. But reaching a record dollar amount only makes a bigger IDA, when what is most needed is a better IDA. A better, more impactful IDA must minimize the cost of finance, but more importantly catalyze investments that reduce inequality. After all, funds like IDA remain so crucial in part because we have collectively failed to address extreme inequality within and between countries.

Rising inequality undermines actions on poverty, climate and economic transformation. It makes those efforts, including IDA investments, more costly and less effective. This year, donors and borrower governments have a critical responsibility to ensure the World Bank, through IDA21, facilitates investments that reduce inequality.

This paper includes concrete recommendations pertinent to IDA21’s new Focus Areas and Lenses: Inequality Reduction, Progressive Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM), Gender Equality, Education, Health, Social Protection, Climate and Private Sector Window (PSW). These recommendations build on successes and lessons from past IDAs, strengthen alignment with the World Bank’s new Corporate Scorecard and push for concrete and ambitious commitments to catalyze investments and cooperation that reduces inequality. They also reflect discussions with various IDA Deputies and advisors, World Bank staff, Executive Director offices, civil society and policy experts.

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