Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2010

Can Donors Be Flexible within Restrictive Budget Systems? Options for Innovative Financing Mechanisms

Benjamin Leo

October 2010

Center for Global Development


This paper focuses on how budgetary scorekeeping systems affect governments' ability or willingness to support innovative development finance initiatives and explores several options to overcome the restrictions the systems often impose. As a starting point, it assumes that donor governments, such as the United States, will not reform their budgetary system regulations to accommodate innovative development finance commitments due to political and budget policy concerns. In general, each option outlined entails important financial, political, and bureaucratic challenges and tradeoffs. In other words, there are no silver bullets. However, there are possible approaches that may merit further exploration by donor governments that want to support specific innovative development finance initiatives but are constrained by existing budgetary systems.