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An African Agenda for World Bank Group Reform

February 2, 2024

The Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the African Climate Foundation brought together more than thirty high-level African policymakers and international development experts at a private roundtable in April 2023 on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC. The event had a clear mission: to brainstorm proposals for a much-needed African agenda for World Bank Group (WBG) reform, as current discussions around multilateral development banks (MDBs) lack a clear African perspective.

There have been various proposals for reforming the global financial architecture in general and the WBG in particular, including Barbados’ Bridgetown Initiative and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s push for stronger private capital and domestic resource mobilization. The WBG itself recognized the need for reform when it released its “evolution road map” in December 2022. Since the Carnegie–African Climate Foundation roundtable, an African Caucus position within the WBG’s board of governors on the evolution road map was also put forward, in July 2023.

Against this backdrop (see annex 1 for further information), discussions at the roundtable centered around the following questions: In a landscape with diverse development actors, in what ways is the WBG still a relevant development financier and partner for Africa? How can reform deliver more value for African countries? In what areas should the WBG focus its engagement with Africa going forward?

The roundtable produced seven proposals for how the WBG can be reoriented to meet African needs and five recommendations for African stakeholders and their partners to advance these proposals. The guidance from the roundtable aligns with the WBG’s evolution road map and is consistent with the themes discussed at the 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, where there was a focus on making progress toward the goal of eradicating poverty (especially for women and youth) by maintaining a livable planet.

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