Is Real Reform Coming to the World Bank?

Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

09-10-2023 • 25 min

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings are taking place in Morocco this month, and for the first time in a long time there is real momentum around enacting reforms to how these decades old institions operate. A big boost to a reform agenda came at the G-20 meeting in India in early September when President Biden backed a reform agenda to increase the World Bank's capacity to support low and middle income countries with better loans aimed at promiting sustainable development. He also announced he'd ask congress for an additional $25 billion for the World Bank.

This was significant for a number of reasons. First, it demonstrated a responsiveness to the criticism of developing world countries who have long sought better financing options for climate compliant economic development projects. Second, the US is the largest shareholder at the World Bank, so what the US president says carries a great deal of weight.

On the line to discuss some of the proposed reforms--and the many political pitfalls along the way -- is Karen Mathieson, project director at the Center for Global Development. We kick off with a discussion of why the World Bank needs reform before having a longer conversation about the proposals now on the table.