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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateral development finance institutions t banks will be a critical source of financing and capacity support to build a resilient and sustainable recovery in developing countries? Are they adequately funded for the recovery? How can they better leverage existing resources, and act more cohesively as a system? The World Bank is unique among multilateral development banks (MDBs) in its global reach – how should it best use its resources? How should other MDBs better align allocation with financing needs and the emergence of global problems that require international solutions? What is the role of international, regional, and national development finance institutions (DFIs)? How can these institutions function better as a system of financial support for public and private sector investment in developing countries?
Many developing countries need the World Bank’s capital less and less. What role should the Bank play in the 21st century? This paper argues that many features of the Bank today reflect a new role. That role, resting on the economic theory of bargaining and public good provision, is to reduce extreme poverty. Donor subsidies to the Bank already reflect this role, which implies new ways to structure and evaluate the Bank’s work.
It is time to take a fresh look at the PSWs and to ask some basic questions about their role and instruments. The aim of this essay is to raise issues that need to be addressed as we think about how PSWs should evolve and adapt to meet the formidable challenges ahead. These questions and the answers gained through careful research can help chart the right course and set the right expectations for MDB PSWs, DFIs, and impact investors generally.
The World Bank is reorganizing. Bloomberg reports that president Jim Yong Kim has written staff about a shake-up at the bank’s highest levels in preparation for implementing an as-yet-to-be-announced new institutional strategy. Such can be unsettling for bank employees, some of whom will find their jobs on the line and others who may get new bosses. Is there any reason for the rest of the world to care?