Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) represent a large and growing pool of savings. An increasing number of these funds are owned by natural resource–exporting countries and have a variety of objectives, including intergenerational equity and macroeconomic stabilization. Traditionally, these funds have invested in external assets, especially securities traded in major markets. But the persistent infrastructure financing gap in developing countries has motivated some governments to encourage their SWFs to invest domestically. Is it appropriate to use SWFs to finance long-term development needs? Does it matter whether such investments are domestic or foreign-held assets? This note considers these issues, particularly the controversial question of using SWFs to finance domestic projects, motivated partly by SWFs’ perceived importance for development.
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