been a year of momentum for
INFFs. Over 50 countries kicked off their INFF
processes, bringing the total number of countries developing INFFs to more than
In April, the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the European Union (EU) celebrated the launch
of the INFF Knowledge Platform and shared early
experiences from INFF implementation on the
sidelines of the 2021 Financing for Development Forum.
The first half
of the year also saw the publishing of technical guidance for the INFF building
blocks, which further defined INFF approaches and explored the different ways
the INFF methodology is being applied in pioneer countries.
At the same
time, the persistent threat of Covid-19 has underscored the need for developed
and developing countries alike to come up with innovative ways to finance recovery
plans and align stimulus with
longer-term development goals.
The result of
this momentum has been a steady growth in international attention and
enthusiasm for INFFs. And a lot of activity! To help keep track of INFF
progress worldwide, we put out a survey to 71 countries pursuing an INFF.
We did a deep
dive into the survey results to distil the most important patterns and lessons.
(For the full survey results, check out our Q1 2021 Global progress
or the INFF dashboard.)
A few key takeaways:
- COVID-19 may have initially slowed INFF implementation, but the
economic and financial impacts of the pandemic provided a new impetus for
implementing INFFs and aligning the development of financing strategies with
stimulus plans or revised national development plans.
- Countries are not starting from scratch. Much of an INFF process is
about bringing together and strengthening structures and processes that already
exist. The survey results show that half of all INFF oversight
embedded within existing institutions.
- No two INFFs are the
same. Governments are adapting the INFF methodology to reflect their country’s
unique context, development trajectory, goals and priorities. The result? INFFs
are taking many different shapes.
The pandemic added new urgency to the call for
holistic financing strategies
caused by the pandemic meant that governments spent much of 2020 focused on
crisis response and management. Yet, the wide-ranging economic shocks triggered
by the pandemic also highlighted the need for holistic and innovative
approaches to public and private financing development and Covid recovery.
activity and commercial investment plummeted in 2020. In many countries,
stimulus packages were put in place to hold off economic collapse. But in the
medium-term, increases in government spending coupled with declining tax
revenue will have a marked impact on public expenditure.
look toward recovery, over 70 governments are using INFFs to shape innovative
approaches to financing Covid recovery and medium- to long-term
sustainable development. Even amidst the 2020 turbulence, many have taken
tangible steps towards developing an INFF – a good indication that INFFs are recognised
as valuable tools for overcoming development financing challenges.
INFF oversight committees: Strengthening – not
reinventing – the wheel
One of the first steps in developing an INFF is determining
who will oversee the process. Some countries will create new governing
mechanisms. However, most already have bodies responsible for delivering
national development plans or governing public and private financing.
The survey results show that many countries are
not reinventing the wheel but rather strengthening what they already have. INFF
oversight committees have been formalised or are under negotiation in more than
half of the countries that reported to the survey (Figure 1). Of the
oversight committees that have been established, half are embedded within
Figure 1. More than half of countries have formalised or are formalising INFF oversight committees.
The institutions that house INFF oversight vary widely from country to
country. In Timor-Leste, for example, the INFF process is embedded within an
ongoing public financial management reform programme. In Tajikistan, oversight
has been embedded within the National Development Council under the President’s
Office. In Mongolia, oversight is led by the Ministry of Finance, with the
support of a multi-stakeholder working group. In Benin, oversight has been
taken on by the Resource Mobilisation Committee, chaired by the Ministry of
two INFFs are alike: Financing strategies reflect unique country contexts
governments use national development plans to chart their country’s development
trajectory in the medium- to long-term. Once a country decides which direction
they want to go, a significant, and perhaps more difficult, question remains:
Unfortunately, most countries do not have a
strategy to finance their development plans. A recent study looked at 107
national development plans and found that 79 had no specific
costing, and only 29 explained how they would be financed.
strategies bridge this critical gap – and are at the centre of the INFF process.
They help countries outline how they are going to mobilise resources to fund
their development plans and, more recently, Covid recovery plans.
Through their INFF
countries will introduce a financing strategy for the first time, and 27 countries
will strengthen existing financing strategies (Figure 2).
Figure 2: More than 30 countries will use INFF processes to articulate an integrated financing strategy for the first time.
Because financing strategies are developed to
support the realisation of nationally-driven development plans, Covid recovery plans, SDG action
plans or thematic strategies, no financing strategy will take the same form.
Each will reflect the unique goals, institutions, challenges and priorities of
Ghana, for example, the government is creating an INFF from the bottom-up,
starting with financing strategies for five district-level development plans. In
Bangladesh, the financing strategy focuses on three development priorities:
climate finance, renewable energy and water and sanitation. The process brings
together a wide range of private companies – more than 60 have participated in
consultations to date – to support market analytics and encourage investment. In
Tunisia, the INFF is supporting a move from a ‘funding for development’
approach toward a ‘financing for development’ approach focusing on creating new
tools to unlock alternative sources of finance.
of the survey
Many countries are still in the very early
stages of developing their INFF. As countries progress along their INFF
journey, we hope to use this survey as an opportunity to collect information,
distil lessons and reflect on progress annually. In the long run, more diverse
INFF experiences will mean more data and more insights to report on!
As we continue to
keep tabs on INFF progress worldwide, we look forward to sharing what we learn
along the way. Feel free to reach out to the platform via Twitter at @INFFPlatform or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your
thoughts, comments or questions on the survey. We look forward to continuing