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External finance to poor countries is declining despite a promise by the international community three years ago to increase development finance flows, in particular through private investment, according to a new OECD report.

The Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2019 - Time to Face the Challenge shows there was a 12 per cent drop in external finance to developing countries from 2013 to 2016. A decline that casts serious doubt on the world’s ability to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the authors warn. The report was published in November 2018 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The external financing data available beyond 2016 reveals that foreign direct investment to developing countries fell by 30 per cent over 2016-17 and project finance was down 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, the report shows. Official Development Assistance (ODA) from advanced economies is steady but below target, while other flows such as remittances and philanthropy are increasing but comparatively small.

Overhauling the development finance system

The report calls for more efforts to mobilise domestic resources, which are at least as important for sustainable development as external flows.

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