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Public development banks: towards a better model

Development banks have become a critical component of the effort to build up poorer economies, but their ways of working are flawed. As a result, their contributions can do more harm than good. many governments are calling on them to expand their contribution in key areas such as sustainable infrastructure, agriculture or industrialisation. In recent years some national Public Development Banks (PDBs) – particularly from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – have emerged as international actors by expanding their remit to financing projects in other developing countries. Not all PDBs succeed, and even the successful ones carry the risk of major negative impacts on development – sometimes due to external factors beyond their control, but more often because of flaws in their design and operation. As a new Eurodad report – published this week as the IMF and World Bank gather for their Spring Meetings in Washington DC – shows, inconsistent performance is partly down to the diverse mandates, roles and operational strategies of the institutions themselves. Eurodad believes some PDBs are failing because they have lost sight of why they were created.

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