World Bank, IMF Spring Meetings Call for Prioritizing Private Sector Solutions
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The Development Committee, a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued a communiqué at the close of the institutions’ 2017 Spring Meetings, encouraging development partners to “prioritize private sector solutions when deploying scarce public resources, including for infrastructure”.

Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), discussed several key findings on sustainable financing that emerged from a 'High-Level SDG Financing Lab,' during a seminar titled, 'Implementing the 2030 Agenda: From Commitment to Action'.

23 April 2017: The Development Committee, a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued a communiqué at the close of the institutions’ 2017 Spring Meetings in Washington. The communiqué encourages development partners to “prioritize private sector solutions when deploying scarce public resources, including for infrastructure.”

The World Bank pledges to help by reducing risk for investors, both real and perceived, while helping ensure that projects “really work” for poor countries and poor people.

The 2017 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF took place from 21-23 April 2017, in Washington, DC, US, bringing together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives of civil society, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, such as the world economic outlook, global financial stability, poverty eradication, jobs and growth, economic development and aid effectiveness.

Opening the event, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said two-thirds of all jobs that currently exist in developing countries will be wiped out by automation, at a time when the internet, smart phones and social media allow everyone to see exactly how everyone else lives, which is causing aspirations to rise all over the world. Among other crises requiring urgent response, he cited: conflict; climate shocks; the worst refugee crisis since World War II; and famine in parts of East Africa and Yemen, which the UN has called the worst in 70 years. To address these challenges, he called for: finding new and innovative ways to reach the poor; making the world more secure and stable; and creating conditions for the private sector to finance projects. He added that the World Bank will support project de-risking and “if needed, de-risk entire countries or sectors.”

The Development Committee urged the World Bank and the IMF to redouble efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure that the benefits of international economic integration are shared widely and inequality is reduced.

The Development Committee, which represents 189 member countries, reiterated its support for the Bank’s role in tackling a wide range of challenges in the global public goods arena and its work to develop a comprehensive approach to crises. On the issues of famine and forced displacement, the members cited both “efforts to mobilize and rapidly disburse support for countries, communities, and refugees in close coordination with the UN and other partners”and the importance of “investing to address the root causes and drivers of fragility and helping countries build institutional and social resilience,” while acknowledging various initiatives by the World Bank to strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

The communiqué notes that, while the global economy is gaining momentum, “risks remain tilted to the downside.” It notes that technological change, trade, financial flows and economic integration have helped boost incomes and have narrowed the economic gaps between countries, but these gains have not always been shared evenly within countries. The Committee urges the World Bank and the IMF to redouble efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure that the benefits of international economic integration are shared widely and inequality is reduced.

During a seminar on ‘Implementing the 2030 Agenda: From Commitment to Action,’ Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), discussed several key findings on sustainable financing that emerged from a ‘High-Level SDG Financing Lab,’ which he had convened on 18 April at UN Headquarters in New York. Thomson noted that participants at the event stressed the need for developing reporting criteria and guidelines, such as SDG-consistent certification standards, or ‘SDG ratings’, for relevant business and financial sector actors, in order to align global financial systems to sustainable development and shift investments towards sectors that advance SDG implementation. Noting that Member States reporting to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) need to be able to measure their progress against the SDGs’ global indicator framework, and therefore need to be supported in their efforts to collect, analyze, and disaggregate the unparalleled amount of global data being generated, the UNGA President underscored that the World Bank has a critical role to play through its work to measure and chart each country’s progress towards the achievement of the SDGs.

During an event on the role of cities in building an inclusive, resilient, and productive future for all, panelists highlighted several measures that cities can take to ensure long-term strength and sustainability: for urban planning, capitalizing on the various innovations happening in and around cities, catalyzing those further and promoting economic growth; using climate change as an opportunity to create new, improved and resilient infrastructure, more and better jobs, and more vibrant communities; and making cities hubs of activity, innovation, and dynamism for youth.

At a meeting organized by World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) on ‘De-Risking for Private Investors,’ participants underscored that a top concern among investors is political risk and liquidity. They underlined the need for: using MIGA’s de-risking tools to create more bankable and cost effective projects in contexts where risk perceptions can lead to higher costs to citizens and lower returns for investors; effectively collaborate across MDBs in bringing in private investors to developing countries; and using tools such as political risk insurance, as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s liquidity facilities, to provide targeted solutions for private investors.

During an event on ‘Addressing Refugee Crises in Middle-Income Countries (MIC): Lessons Learned,’ panelists showcased how in only one year the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) has unlocked US$1 billion in concessional financing to support Syrian refugees and the communities that host them in Jordan and Lebanon, which are MIC and thus do not have access to the kind of concessional financing reserved for the world’s poorest countries. They explained that the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank Group, and the UN launched the GCFF to fill this gap in humanitarian and development assistance at last year’s Spring Meetings, where each US$1 in grants contributed to the GCFF can leverage US$4-$5 in concessional financing for development projects that benefit refugees and the communities that host them.

Other events during the Spring Meetings focused on, inter alia: innovations to prevent gender-based violence; jumpstarting the next revolution in food and agriculture; investing in early childhood development; investing in adolescents; creating markets; and increasing women’s financial protection. [World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2017: Development Committee Communiqué] [World Bank Press Release] [World Bank President Opening Remarks] [UNGA President Remarks] [World Bank Website] [Summary of the Event on Cities] [Summary of the Event on De-risking] [Summary of the Event on MICs]


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