International Development Consulting Services
Political Economy analysis
Political economy analysis (PEA) is a way of making sense of government decisions or non-decisions that govern a country’s development and international relations. It is a form of multi-level analysis that looks at factors at the international level (structural and systemic factors such as the distribution of formal and informal power in the system and imperatives of national security), at domestic institutions, political competition and ‘rules of the game’, at how incentives are aligned for individuals and agents and at pathways for change under conditions of complexity and uncertainty.
More and more development institutions are turning to political economy analysis to better understand the context for their interventions and to increase their effectiveness. I pioneered the use of political economy analysis at the EBRD, leading a team of political analysts and economists to ensure that the Bank’s country strategy and operational work took these factors into account before deciding how best to channel investment into specific sectors and structure policy engagement.
My geographic expertise covers eastern and southeastern Europe, the former Soviet Union countries and the Middle East and North Africa. I have written and lectured widely on the political economy of development and the pervasiveness of corruption in countries in transition. I can offer political economy analysis to institutions, development agencies or corporates considering intervention in these countries, and I can offer bespoke training to your staff to enable in-house PEA on a continual basis.
Financing for Development
Emerging and frontier market countries require massive injections of finance, as well as sound policy frameworks, to further their development. The United Nations estimated the funding gap to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries at roughly $2.5 trillion per year before the COVID 19 pandemic hit in 2020. Today, due to increased needs, rising public debt and debt service costs and capital outflows from developing countries, the funding gap is closer to $4.2 trillion per year.
Domestic resource mobilisation and official finance from wealthy donor countries and development finance institutions cannot plug this gap on their own. Private sector funding – from institutional investors (like pension funds and insurers), sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks, private equity funds and philanthropic organisations – will be needed to meet the financing needs of developing countries if they are to achieve the SDGs.
Thankfully, more and more private investors are showing an interest in allocating capital to projects that deliver a financial, social and environmental impact return – so-called triple bottom line investing. To make projects investable, and to achieve the financial and non-financial impact returns needed to attract capital, it is often necessary to blend private money with concessional funds provided by donors or other development agencies.
I spent the last five years of my EBRD career working on exactly this set of challenges – setting up a division to leverage private finance from philanthropic organisations, raising funds from national and multinational donors and structuring blended finance transactions with concessional finance providers and the Bank’s own capital, engaging actively in field development in the areas of blended concessional finance and impact investing.
I am available to work with development finance institutions, private offices, institutional investors, philanthropic organisations, donors and others to support your existing or future activities in the impact investing, Environment-Social-Governance (ESG) investing or blended finance space.
A key step towards development effectiveness – whether the objective is to reduce poverty, strengthen institutions and policy frameworks, generate impact or promote sustainable and inclusive growth – is putting in place a focused strategy. A good strategy will look at the country context and the appetite for change, conduct a needs assessment, consider what others are already doing and how to structure cooperation, take into account key risks and scenarios, embed a theory of change in prospective development activities, and have a monitoring and evaluation system that measures results.
I led the department responsible for country and sector strategy development at EBRD and overhauled its approach to country strategies during my time in that role. I pioneered the use of country-specific governance programmes that sought to address issues of public and private misgovernance and corruption. I worked with multiple stakeholders internally – including bankers, environmental specialists, legal transition experts, political analysts and economists – to understand what needed to be done, what could be done and how EBRD could amass the tools and expertise to get it done. I was responsible for the Bank’s ‘managing for results’ systems and ensured EBRD maintained the highest standards in applying the principles of impact management.
I am keen to work with institutions and development agencies looking for an external and objective review or specific advice on how to strengthen your strategic planning framework.