At the Finance in Common Summit (FiCS) held by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on October 19-20, the first global database on public development banks (PDBs) and development financing institutions (DFIs) was successfully launched by the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University and French Development Agency (AFD).
During the presentation in the plenary session of the FiCS, Jiajun Xu, principal investigator and Executive Deputy Dean of INSE, and Régis Marodon, co-principal investigator and Special Advisor on Sustainable Finance of AFD, co-presented the database by focusing on the motivation behind building the first global database on PDBs and DFIs, conceptual foundation of what PDBs and DFIs are, stylized facts, and future plan of database building and original research.
PDBs and DFIs are potentially potent instruments for fixing market failures, incubating markets, and promoting economic structural transformation in an equitable and sustainable manner. However, in sharp contrast with the renaissance of PDBs and DFIs in practice, there is lack of in-depth academic research on their roles, governance, and effectiveness. A major reason behind the paucity of the research is lack of data. Few has systematically identified PDBs and DFIs worldwide, let alone collecting the firsthand data on their operations and development outcomes. To fill the gap, INSE initiated the database project in September 2017 and then collaborated with AFD to devote tremendous efforts to build the first PDB and DFI database in the hope of laying the solid foundation for original research to unleash their full development potential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
To encourage more researchers to undertake original research on PDBs and DFIs, the INSE and AFD team have decided to make the database publicly available and devoted efforts to build a data visualization website (https://www.nse.pku.edu.cn/dfidatabase/), where colleagues who are interested in PDBs and DFIs can download the data for free. The website is also officially launched during FiCS.
Looking ahead, the future plan for database building is to update the PDB and DFI list on an annual basis by incorporating new ones and deleting those that have been commercialized or abolished, incorporate diverse data collection methodologies—including manual data collection, machine learning, and expert verification—to collect and triangulate the publicly available basic financial indicators such as total assets, total equity, and net profit, and finally to conduct the questionnaire survey to collect thematically-focused data such as business models, financial regulation and corporate governance, to make the original research feasible.
Building the first global database on PDBs and DFIs worldwide would not be possible without the financial support from our sponsors including the National Social Science Foundation of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China of China-Data Center for Management Science at Peking University, Ford Foundation and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC).
The database building is a time-/resource-consuming endeavor and requires persistent efforts. We welcome partner institutions that would like to join hands in effort to build the database. We also welcome colleagues who have expertise in accounting, finance, natural language processing, and machine learning that are willing to contribute to the database building (Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Finance in Common Summit gathers the whole Public Development Bank community along with other key stakeholders, such as Heads of State, governments, supervisors, and representatives from the private sector, civil society, think tanks and academia. The first summit was held in November 2020 in Paris. This year, the FiCS convenes for a second time to reiterate and renew their commitments in support of common actions for climate and sustainable development. The 2021 Finance in Common Summit will particularly focus on the contribution of PDBs to the development of agriculture, agribusiness and of the global financial architecture for a sustainable development. For more information of the 2021 Finance in Common Summit, please kindly visit its official website: https://www.financeincommon2021.org/. In the Communiqué of the Fourth G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, the Finance in Common Coalition is welcomed and the Communiqué recognizes the important role of Public Development Banks towards the achievement of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement goals, and looks forward that the Finance in Common Coalition will report on its progress.