Press Release

CGD Launches Multilateral Development Bank Reform Tracker Ahead of World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings

October 09, 2023

“Progress on reforms has been extremely limited and discouragingly slow”

Washington – Ahead of the upcoming World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings in Marrakech, the Center for Global Development unveiled a new tool today to monitor reforms at the world's leading multilateral development banks. 

The Multilateral Development Bank Reform Tracker, a project of CGD’s Nancy Lee, Karen Mathiasen, Victoria Dimond, Samuel Matthews, and Rakan Aboneaaj, tracks the progress made by the six largest multilateral development banks on the three major reform agendas. 

The tracker found that all six multilateral development banks are actively considering a wide-ranging reform agenda, and that there has already been notable progress in areas including raising lending limits and launching innovative finance programs. However, most reforms are still in the exploration, rather than the implementation, stage.

"While there have been many discussions about major changes at the banks, reforms are still mostly in the planning phase rather than being put into action,” said Nancy Lee, who leads the Center for Global Development’s Sustainable Development Finance work.. “We've seen some positive steps like increasing lending limits and launching innovative finance programs, but most reforms are still in the very early stages and haven't fully materialized yet. To date, the urgency of the crises we are facing is simply not being matched by the pace of reforms."  

To develop the tracker, the researchers evaluated the MDBs' progress on items contained in the three major reform agendas (The G-20 Independent Review of MDB’s Capital Adequacy Frameworks, The G-20 Independent Experts Group Report of Strengthening the MDBs, and 

The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact which is closely aligned with the Bridgetown Agenda) and assigned a rating to indicate the progress on individual reform agenda items ("no progress," "in progress," or "complete"). To determine the status of the reforms, researchers from the Center for Global Development reviewed publicly available information from each MDB and also consulted directly with each MDB to confirm the accuracy of the public information.

“I wish I had better news, but progress on reforms has been extremely limited and discouragingly slow,” said Karen Mathiasen, a researcher at the Center for Global Development. “We face multiple crises that all demand urgent action. Challenges from the climate crisis to food insecurity to record debt in poorer countries all transcend borders and require a coordinated global effort. But the response from the multilateral banks has unfortunately been quite underwhelming – and what’s been even more sluggish is donors’ willingness to pay for the needed reforms.”

The Center for Global Development plans to update the tracker biannually, as well as whenever significant reform events are announced.

You can find the Multilateral Development Bank Reform Tracker at