Edward Hedger - Director, Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure, ODI
Richard Manning - Senior Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Chris Humphrey - Lecturer, University of Zurich
Helmut Reisen - ShiftingWealth Consulting
Chris Garroway - Economist, UNCTAD
Annalisa Prizzon - Research Fellow, ODI
Multilateral development finance plays a crucial role in supporting international development and fighting poverty. Multilateral agencies tend to channel more aid to poorer countries than bilateral donors (Levin and Dollar 2005) and they are better at providing information and at monitoring recipients’ use of funds (Rodrick, 1996); the negotiations between recipient countries and multilateral development agencies tend to be less politicised than with bilateral donors (Rodrick, 1996); multilateral donors reduce ex-ante transaction cost and ex-post uncertainties for donors (Martens 2005) and assistance comes untied; finally, multilateral finance was found to have superior enforcement capacity because of de jure seniority (Bulow and Rogoff, 1990) of multilateral lending.
However, there has been a slowing-down and levelling-off of multilateral ODA (OECD, 2014). Disbursements of non-concessional flows have been negative since shortly after the Asian crisis, excluding responses to the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010 (Kharas et al 2014).
The roundtable will bring together experts in the field of multilateral development finance to (i) discuss current and future challenges for multilateral finance in the changing development finance and poverty landscape; (ii) debate whether multilateral development banks are fit for purpose and ready to respond to these challenges, and (iii) identify which reforms might be necessary to adapt multilateral finance mechanisms to the needs of partner countries in a more crowded group of financiers. Proceedings of the roundtable are also meant to inform the ODI Flagship Publication on the role of international public finance in financing the SDGs due in April 2015, which forms part of the a series of ODI publications in the lead up to the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa in July.