Annual meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

October 09, 2017 > October 15, 2017, Washington

Laurent Wagner, researcher FERDI, attended multiple sessions. He gives his impressions of the trends.

Laurent Wagner, Reseracher FERDI, attended multiple sessions during the week focusing on the future of development policy notably for Regional Development Banks.

He gives his impressions of the trends :

"In general, a single word can characterize the general theme of the week: inclusion. Whether in the context of the G20 or of targeted policies on infrastructure and the private sector, this is clearly the prime objective. This is also a response to the anxiety about Brexit and the US election. The aim is to ensure that growth and globalization more generally create jobs. The focus is also on financing social safety nets.

All the players seem to be positioning themselves very positively behind the new impetus for Africa provided by the G20 Compact for Africa. In this framework, there is a significant focus on infrastructure and the private sector while leaving aside somehow the issues related to social sectors and fragility. Africa needs productive jobs first and foremost according to Paul Collier (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University and Senior Fellow FERDI). The contrast with the MDGs is very marked. Moreover, the Bank's new report on Fragility clearly emphasizes the lack of inclusion as one of the main cause of fragility.

Another word comes back in all the speeches made by the management of the Regional Multilateral Banks: recapitalization. For the African Development Bank, this is not a surprise but it really marks the will to adapt to the graduation of their clients. There is a distinct frustration raised by the inability to lend to high-income countries as well as the BRICS to ensure the financial stability of these banks (as well as their Triple A). The issue of lending to the BRICS also shakes the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) where relations are tense with the White House which strongly opposes the idea that the World Bank  should be able to lend to, among others, China as part of a large recapitalization of IBRD. In general, the management of Multilateral Development Banks strongly emphasizes the need of continued lending operations to the richest countries in their respective regions. Despite some opposition, the trend is clearly pointing toward the growth of the ratio of non-concessional to concessional lending." Laurent Wagner