From the impact of the US Government Shutdown on the development community to the growing concern over the global economy’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change

Following the longest government shutdown in US history, the aid and development community is coming to terms with the impact the disruption has had on their activities. While reports indicate most NGOs did not experience a significant disruption in operations, USAID now faces a significant backlog and delays. The disruptions caused by the shutdown have strained the agency’s relationships with local organisations, and with the looming threat of another shutdown in the coming weeks observers warn the US could suffer a serious hit to its reputation in the developing world.


European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer told reporters Europe’s contribution to global development is ‘under par,’ blaming ‘inefficiencies… within Europe’s development financing architecture.’ Hoyer’s comments come as the EIB vies with the European Commission to establish itself as the head of efforts to coordinate European development finance actors under the EU’s 2021-2027 budget.


Former Nigerian Minister for Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who ran against departing World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim in 2012, has told reporters she will run for President of the Bank again if she is nominated. Though historically the World Bank President has always been the US nominee for the position as part of an arrangement made with the European countries when the Bank was estalished (a long-standing point of contention among developing countries), it is ultimately up to the Board of the World Bank to elect a candidate.


California utility PG&E has been forced to declare bankruptcy after the company found itself facing liabilities of USD $30 Billion and 750 lawsuits over the role the company’s power lines and transformers played in starting devastating wildfires. After seeing its market value drop from USD $25 Billion to less than USD $4 Billion, The Wall Street Journal called California utility PG&E ‘the first major corporate casualty of climate change,’ leading financial analysts to wonder if corporations are equipped to handle the potentially sudden and devastating impact of climate change on their businesses.


UNAIDS is facing an uncertain future as it reels from the release of a damning report into the agency’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power. Executive Director Michel Sidibé, who was the subject of heavy criticism in the report published in December of last year, has announced he will step down in June, leaving the agency in what observers describe as a holding pattern, with Sidibé’s continued presence underming the institutions credibility and hampering funding and recruitment efforts.


Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland have signed a declaration committing ‘to enhance their cooperation to accelerate climate action at the national, regional and global levels and to work towards carbon neutrality.’


Irish rock star and activist Bono has launched a new company with US private equity company TPG to measure the social environmental impact of impact investment funds. The company, Y Analytics, will seek to measure the ‘impact returns’ of impact investments to provide a more accurate assessment of the effectiveness of impact investments.

Related: Cultivating, Not Just Calculating, Social Impact


Mafalda Duarte, head of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), has announced CIF plans to raise USD $500 Million ‘this year or next’ by issuing a green bond to finance renewable energy projects.


The Asian Development Bank has raised USD $3.5 Billion from a five-year dollar bond issuance, the ADB’s first issuance of the year.


The African Development Bank has approved equity investment of up to USD $25 Million for the ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF). The fund will provide equity for the development of 10-15 renewable energy projects in areas with weak grid supply to provide ‘improved base load and peak load power.’


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Green Climate Fund will provide USD $50 Million for the construction of a new solar power plant in the south of Kazakhstan.


The World Bank has appointed Akihiko Nishio Vice President of Development Finance (DFi). The role will see Nishio oversee the ‘strategic mobilization of the Bank’s financial resources, including the International Development Association (IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and a diverse trust fund portfolio.’ A Japanese national, Nishio previously worked for the Japanese International Cooperation Agency when it was known as the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund before joining the Bank.


CDC, the UK’s development financial institution, has announced the appointment of Stephen Priestly as its new Managing Director, Funds and Capital Partnerships. Priestly was previously Regional Head of Banking for Africa, Middle East, and Pakistan (MENAP) at Standard Chartered before leaving the bank in early 2018.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board has appointed Dr. Takeshi Kasai as Regional Director for its Western Pacific Region, and reappointed Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh for a second term as Regional Director of its South-East Asia Region. Dr. Kasai is a Japanese national and has worked for WHO for more than 15 years, most recently as Director of Programme Management in the Western Pacific Region. Dr. Khetrapal Singh is an Indian National and was the first woman regional director of WHO South-East Asia upon her appointment in February 2014.


The Nature Conservancy has appointed Eric Steinhauser Director, Global Marketing and Creative Content. Steinhauser, an award-winning creative executive, film director, and strategic storyteller will ‘drive the creative vision, editorial, strategies and storytelling of TNC across all platforms’ as part of the role.