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Multilateral Development Banks in the 21st Century: what reforms for mandates, governance and financing?

May 18, 2023

Hosted by Department of International Development, the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ODI

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) play a unique role among development financiers, with their convening power, cross-country knowledge and expertise, and with finance at better terms than what capital markets can offer, leveraging on their balance sheets.

Nevertheless, there is a growing belief – particularly among borrowing countries – that the World Bank and major regional MDBs are too inflexible, bureaucratic and dominated by the political interests of wealthy non-borrowing shareholder countries. MDBs operate across multiple territories, meaning they should – in theory – be well placed to deal with global crises. Yet in practice, the mandates, operational models and instruments of MDBs are no longer fit for purpose. It is high time that these deficiencies are addressed and resolved to ensure the MDB model is capable of confronting the major challenges of this century.

Ahead of June’s Paris Finance summit, this public event organised in partnership with global affairs think tank ODI will see a high-level panel discussing what major reforms MDBs should undertake.

The event will be followed by a reception outside the venue.

Hashtag for event: #LSEReformMDBs


Suma Chakrabarti (@SumaChakrabarti) is Chair of the Board of Trustees of ODI and Adviser to the Presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on economic development, effective governance and international cooperation. Until July 2020, he served as the sixth President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He is an alumnus of the ODI Fellowship Scheme and had a successful earlier career in the UK civil service. Sir Suma was knighted in 2006 for his work in international development. 

Baroness Minouche Shafik is President and Vice Chancellor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this, she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. She is an alumna of LSE. Her new book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract, is out now. She is co-chair of the Economy 2030 Inquiry commission.

Professor Nick Stern (@lordstern1) is the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Head of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics. President of the British Academy, July 2013 – 2017, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014.  


Henry Curr (@Henry_Curr) is The Economist’s chief commentator on economics and oversees coverage of economics throughout the newspaper. Henry has written over 20 cover stories on subjects ranging from the future of central banking to “millennial socialism”, and he is the author of special reports on inflation and on the world economy after the covid-19 pandemic. He frequently appears on television, radio and podcasts. 


Kathryn Hochstetler is Professor and Head of the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published widely on themes of environment and development, especially in Brazil and other large emerging economies. Her most recent book is Political Economies of Energy Transition: Wind and Solar Power in Brazil and South Africa (Cambridge University Press 2021). 

More about the event

The Department of International Development at LSE promotes interdisciplinary postgraduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change. 

ODI is a global affairs think tank, founded in 1960. Its mission is “to inspire people to act on injustice and inequality through collaborative research and ideas that matter for people and the planet.”

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is a research institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science founded in May 2008.