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How can MDBs be more responsive to borrower clients and citizens? Improving the operational model

Time (GMT +01) 08:30 09:45
Image credit:World Bank Group Headquarters. Franz Mahr / World Bank Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

ODI at the Annual Meetings

ODI is convening a series of events in Marrakech, Morocco during the week of the 2023 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings.

For more information, including details on how to register, please visit our dedicated Annual Meetings webpage.

Download the event summary here.


The World Bank and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) are under growing pressure to work their capital harder and boost volumes of lending to maintain their focus on poverty eradication and prosperity while also addressing global challenges like the climate crisis and pandemic preparedness. However, scaling up investment in sustainable development requires institutions to have the capacity to lend more and be willing to do so. It also calls for borrowers to choose to take up the offer of increased finance. For many non-client shareholders, more responsive and effective institutions are crucially important to justify future efforts to grow their capital base.

Despite the operational model of MDBs demonstrably possessing many strengths, the compounding crises that client countries face challenge MDBs to find ways to deliver development results quicker, more effectively and more efficiently. MDBs could further boost their lending capacities, but they would need operational models that are scalable and replicable while maintaining flexibility to adapt to country-specific conditions and needs. Previous ODI work has shown that borrowers can face frustrations in financing projects through MDBs while development partners are looking to maximise results and development outcomes in the context of scarce concessional resources.

Building on existing efforts across the MDB system such as the new World Bank Playbook and IDDRI workshops held before, during and after the 2023 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, this breakfast meeting provides a space to discuss the priority areas for reform in the banks’ operational model, and how such reforms can help incentivise demand from client countries and improve outcomes.