What is the role of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) in the 1990s and beyond? Are the needs perceived at Bretton Woods still relevant today? Are the roles which the banks subsequently carved out for themselves still appropriate? Are there still gaps in development financing for the banks to fill, and do they serve a useful advisory role? The fiftieth anniversary of the World Bank in 1994 momentarily brought these issues to the fore, but media attention then moved elsewhere. The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialised countries has now endorsed less radical proposals for strengthening the role of the MDBs. Will this mean business as usual? If not, how will the impetus for change be sustained?