Tag: development finance

Gambling on Development

Nairobi National park, Africa.

SweDev and SEI invited Stefan Dercon, Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford, to highlight the outcomes from his latest book “Gambling on Development: Why some countries win and others lose”.

The topic of the SEI and SweDev dialogue was how countries are managing growth and sustainable development. Professor Dercon was introduced by George Marbuah, SEI Research Fellow.

“It was a pleasure to host Professor Dercon who delivered a great and interesting keynote about why some countries win and others lose in development. Drawing on his extensive academic research and policy experience, he provided new insights on why this may be the case. Professor Dercon provocatively argued that the answer lies not in specific policies per se in many developing countries, but rather in a ‘development bargain’, where the elite in a particular country is able to ‘shift from protecting their own positions to gambling on a growth-based future’.”

George Marbuah, SweDev member and SEI Research Fellow

Gambling on Development: Why some countries win and others lose

The book draws on Professor Dercon’s academic research and his policy experience across three decades and 40-odd countries, exploring why some countries have managed to settle on elite bargains favoring growth and development and others did not.

“Aid is a little bit like dancing the tango, it should be led by someone and I think it should be led by the country,” said Dercon during his presentation.

Professor Stefan Dercon

Watch the recording:

SEI and SweDev dialogues on development research. Video: SEI / SweDev.

Professor Stefan Dercon

Stefan Dercon is a Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford. Professor Dercon combines his academic career with work as a policy advisor, providing strategic economic and development advice, and promoting the use of evidence in decision making.

SEI and SweDev dialogues on development research

“We had an exciting dialogue with over 30 participants from the global south and Sweden, who posed questions to Professor Dercon. We invite development researchers around the world; both Swedish researchers, international researchers, and researchers from the global south, to give a short talk about their ongoing or finalized research.”

Janet Vähämäki, Director of SweDev and SEI Development and Aid Policy Team Lead

The series of dialogues on development research, an initiative taken by the Development and Aid Policy Team at SEI Headquarters and the Swedish Development Researchers Network (SweDev), kicked off in the end of 2021. Our research-based community has raised the need for learning spaces and dialogue platforms for development research. This dialogue with Stefan Dercon was part of SEI’s and SweDev’s dialogue series on development research.

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Read about the dialogue with Professor Dercon

Read about the book

New report: Understanding the role of development finance institutions (DFI)

Makati, Manila.

The SEI report “Understanding the role of development finance institutions in promoting development: an assessment of three African countries,” is now launched.

About the report by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

The report seeks to understand the role of development finance institutions (DFI) in supporting the objectives of national development plans, particularly those emphasizing the SDGs, set by the developing countries within which DFIs invest.

The authors focus on DFIs that provide finance to the private sector under concessional terms, seeking a profit. The analysis of DFI funding is set within the broader context of the role played by financial flows, such as commercial finance and foreign aid (i.e. Official Development Assistance, ODA), in supporting national development objectives. Three country case studies are used as a lens for the analysis, namely Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana.

The report defines the role that DFIs play as investors as well as their potential contribution to development outcomes, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Finally, the report identifies opportunities where DFI investments could support sectors deemed as strategic by governments following the DFI investment principles of financial additionality, development impacts and catalytic effects. The paper suggests four steps that DFIs could follow to increase their level of funding towards strategic sectors. These are:

  • to identify the strategic sectors
  • compare these with current DFI investment activities
  • discuss how DFIs could support investments in these sectors with key stakeholders (private sector, other financing institutions and the government), and
  • to invest in the target priority sectors.

Comments from the authors

Regarding the purpose of the joint research, George Marbuah, Research Fellow at SEI Headquarters, said:

“DFIs can be even more strategic and transformational with their investments by aligning their portfolios with country development strategies. This report shows how DFIs can enhance their development impact in Africa.”


Text adapted by the SweDev Secretariat from the original publication post on the SEI website.