Ideas to action: independent research for global prosperity
World Bank Reform: Landing as a Tiger or as a Housecat?
November 29, 2023
At the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Marrakech in October, the governors of the World Bank agreed upon next steps in the Bank’s “Evolution Roadmap.” The level of ambition is still high, but big reform is far from a done deal. Looking to the past, there has been no shortage of World Ba...
Is IDA Equipped for Another Debt Shock?
November 29, 2023
At the start of the COVID pandemic, we examined how major deteriorations in low-income country (LIC) debt levels could influence the grant funding requirements for IDA, the World Bank’s low-income-country lending arm. IDA provides a mix of concessional credits (which need to be repaid) and grants (w...
Missing Figures: Women's Underrepresentation in IFI Leadership
November 27, 2023
International financial institutions (IFIs) appear to agree that quality of policymaking sees gains from diversifying the body of policymakers, all issuing diversity, equity, and inclusion statements. But how do these institutions perform when it comes to their own staff— do they lead by example? We...
Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks: A Response to Critics
November 22, 2023
Under the Indian Presidency, the G20 tasked N.K. Singh and Larry Summers to convene an independent expert group (IEG) to recommend how to strengthen multilateral development banks and address the shared global challenges of the 21st century (disclosure: we were both part of the Secretariat supportin...
What’s Not to Like About the IDA Private Sector Window
November 09, 2023
The World Bank’s soft lending arm, IDA, will begin its 21st round of replenishment negotiations soon. One thing on the agenda will be the IDA Private Sector Window (PSW), which uses IDA resources to subsidize private sector investments primarily through the World Bank Group’s International Finance C...
Who Gets World Bank Climate Money? An Exploration of Adaptation Financing to Lower-Income Countries
October 31, 2023
The World Bank is the largest provider of climate adaptation finance to the world’s poorest countries. Adaptation finance assists countries to reduce the risks they face from climate change such as disease outbreak and rising sea levels. Lower-income countries (LICs) receive highly concessional fina...
Changing the World Bank’s Incentives from Inputs to Outcomes
October 23, 2023
World Bank President Ajay Banga recently stated that one of his top priorities was to shift the institution’s incentives from inputs (i.e., loan approvals and disbursements) to outcomes (i.e., the actual impacts of lending on developing countries). This is an old challenge, highlighted by the Wapenh...
Annual Meetings, Perennial Challenges
October 16, 2023
The real test after the meetings will be how to identify sources of concessional financing for middle-income countries while still delivering on IDA. Donors have leaned heavily on capital adequacy reforms and private sector mobilization as sources of finance, but there is no escaping the fact that t...
Fixing Project Bureaucracy at the World Bank
October 13, 2023
World Bank president Ajay Banga’s declared strategy is to lead with a better bank before pushing for a bigger bank. I hope it works. His shoutout to the dribs of finance offered by Germany and the US toward guarantees and hybrid capital in his Annual Meetings speech today only served to emphasize ho...
The Triple Agenda: A Roadmap for Better, Bolder and Bigger MDBs
October 13, 2023
A world on fire requires the multilateral development banks to be at center stage in creating an effective response and bringing diverse actors to support a shared agenda of transformative development. MDBs have a distinctive comparative advantage in playing a catalytic role in fostering government ...