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“MDBs are one of the few places where nations come together,” says Lawrence H Summers. “They do more than talk. They do. And what they do is for the betterment of humanity and people everywhere.”
Summers, former US Treasury Secretary, Harvard professor, and the CGD Board Chair, is explaining why the World Bank and the regional multilateral development banks (MDBs) are well-placed to help address some of today’s urgent problems, including climate change, pandemics, and the problems of large-scale forced migration.
He joins me on the CGD Podcast in his capacity as co-chair of a CGD High Level Panel that just released a major new study called Multilateral Development Banking for This Century's Development Challenges. The other co-chairs are Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former deputy chairman of India’s Economic Planning Commission, and Andrés Velasco, former finance minister of Chile.
The report recommends changes that will make the MDBs operate as a more complementary system, and in a way that is more responsive to transnational problems that threaten us all, but which will hit the world’s poorest people hardest. It’s a call for more collective action at a time when some countries in the world seem to be turning inward. Watch the video above to hear why Summers sees this as a misstep.
The report contains specific recommendations for governments of the world—who are shareholders of the MDBs—to repurpose these banks to make them better equipped to tackle transnational problems. CGD president Nancy Birdsall and senior fellow Scott Morris were co-directors of the panel that produced the report. Read their blog about it here.
Demand for development finance as a key complement to traditional aid is growing, but despite the impressive strength of the US private sector, the US government’s ability to respond—to date— has fallen short. The good news: Congress got the memo.