World Bank Financializing Development
This article critically reviews the World Bank’s reorientation from its traditional role as a lender for major development projects to become a broker for private investment. It highlights the follies of the Bank’s ‘billions to trillions’ agenda, rebranded as Maximizing Finance for Development, that seeks to use aid and public money to leverage private finance, supposedly to fill the financing gap for achieving the SDGs. While such leveraging has failed to raise substantial finance, the Bank’s promotion of PPPs and ‘de-risking’ foreign private finance in developing countries has significantly increased risk for developing country governments. Focusing on ‘blending’ aid with private finance has obscured crucial measures such as macro-prudential regulations and international cooperation to address systemic issues, e.g., harmful tax competition and illicit capital outflows from developing countries via transfer pricing and tax havens. The B2T/MFD hype has also deflected attention from stagnant and declining aid flows, and onerous conditionalities, especially for the least developed and other fragile economies.
KeywordsWorld bank Billions to trillions Maximizing finance for development Sustainable development goals De-risking Financialization Development finance Multilateral development banks
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