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Country perspectives on multilateral development banks: a survey analysis

Research reports

Written by Annalisa Prizzon, Michael Josten, Hayk Gyuzalyan

This report aims to inform how the strategies and financing instruments of multilateral development banks (MDBs) should evolve to reflect client countries’ perspectives. To capture those perspectives, we consulted nearly 500 senior government officials and senior staff in the country offices of MDBs in 73 client countries via an online questionnaire.

MDBs share the ultimate goal of supporting the socioeconomic development of their client countries. The financial terms and conditions of their loans are often more convenient than those under which many governments could borrow in international and domestic capital markets. MDBs provide policy advice and technical assistance to accompany projects and programmes, and many also have policy research units and convening power. Shareholders of global and regional MDBs have, however, increasingly scrutinised their roles and performance, and the level of demand for what these institutions offer.

For MDBs to remain relevant development institutions, boost the effectiveness of their support to client countries and justify shareholders’ investment, the views and demand from client countries should inform and shape their strategies and financing instruments. However, we know little about the views of client countries regarding the relevance and performance of MDBs, what they value about their financing and operations and what their main weaknesses are.