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Statement: Annual Meetings 2022 – MDBs can do much more to help solve the global economic and climate crises

Written by Sara Pantuliano

Press Release

Responding to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s remarks ahead of the Annual Meetings 2022, on international development and evolving the multilateral development banks (MDBs) ODI’s Chief Executive Sara Pantuliano said:

“The World Bank and other MDBs can do much more than they are already doing to help solve the global economic and climate crises.

“They are not showing nearly enough leadership on climate.

“They also need to tailor their offer more closely to what emerging and middle-income countries really need.

“They could significantly expand their lending, meaning more countries could access more support, if they made some adjustments in how they manage the capital which shareholding countries have contributed.

“Meanwhile the global economic forecast is grim and all countries in the world are affected. It’s very significant that the World Bank’s largest shareholder, the US Government, recognises this.

“I welcome Secretary Yellen’s leadership on global development co-operation and multilateral development bank reform, and support the clear steps she outlines.

“I was delighted to hear her say that middle-income countries should be able to access concessional financing to help their transition away from fossil fuels. This is exactly the kind of practical help countries will need to be able to move away from coal and gas power to low-carbon energy in the short timeframe needed.

“I really hope the US and other shareholders will support reforms to the use of MDBs’ callable capital, as recommended in the recent independent review of MDBs’ capital adequacy commissioned by the G20, which ODI chaired and contributed to. The increased lending this would support will make a real difference for countries facing and trying to weather the huge economic shocks and contractions coming out of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war – and without undermining the all-important AAA credit rating that allows MDBs to borrow cheaply from capital markets.”


Ahead of the Annual Meetings 2022 three Finance Ministers joined the ODI Think Change podcast, to discuss the future for the MDBs and the reasons why reforms are needed.

ODI podcast hosts Sara Pantuliano and Annalisa Prizzon are joined by:

Alexia Latortue, Assistant Secretary for International Trade and Development, US Treasury

Jose Antonio Ocampo, Minister of Finance, Government of Colombia

Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Government of Egypt.

Listen to the podcast here


ODI at the Annual Meetings

Read our latest commentary and analysis on how multilateral development banks (MDBs) need reforming to meet the global challenges of today.

Read more

World Bank Group Headquarters, 2018