The Visible Hand: Development Banks in Transition

November 03, 2020 > November 10, 2020, En ligne

The 14th AFD International Research Conference on Development, "The Visible Hand: Development Banks in Transition" took place in the framework of the Finance in Common Summit, the first global meeting of all public development banks.

In the context of the severe crisis affecting the world following the Covid-19 disruption, this new edition focused on development banks’ key contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to paving the way to rebuild our economic systems in a more responsible and sustainable way.

Two Rendez-vous were at the agenda:

  • the Academic Days, 3-5 November 2020
  • the Open Discussion Days, 9-10 November 2020

The conference was organized with the academic support of the lnstitute of New Structural Economics at Peking University (INSE), the lnstitute for Sustainable Development and lnternational Relations (lDDRl) and of the Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI).

Academic Days

This workshop was dedicated to researchers and experts from academia, think tanks and international organizations.

An initiative with 28 researchers from 20 institutions

The researchers involved in the International Research Initiative on Public Development Banks (PDBs) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) working groups and pilot research program presented their findings. This network of thematically-focused open working groups, involving 28 researchers from 20 institutions across the globe, was launched by the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University, and sponsored by the Agence française de développement (AFD), Ford Foundation, and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC).

16 research papers were discussed, covering the five key challenges exposed by the research program:

  • The characterization of SDG-compatible investments
  • Development Finance Institutions’ business models
  • Development Finance Institutions’ governance
  • The financial regulation of Development Finance Institutions
  • The global development finance architecture

10 recommendations that Span Development Banking

The summary of this research papers is published in 10 key recommendations for decision-makers. Avalaible on AFD's website.


November 3, 2020
1:00 PM to 3:35 PM (CET- Paris time)
  • 13:00 – 14:25    Working Group - Characterization of SDG-compatible investments
  • 13:00 – 13:05    Introduction 
  • 13:05 – 13:20    Presentation of the paper Public Development Banks and the Alignment with 2030 Agenda: The Aim of the Transformative Scale-up by Maria Alejandra Riaño (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, IDDRI) • Jihane Boutaybi (IDDRI) • Damien Barchiche (IDDRI) • Sébastien Treyer  (IDDRI)
  • 13:20 – 13:35    P Presentation of the paper Piloting and Scaling Up Clean Energy Transitions: The Role of Development Financial Institutions by Samantha Attridge (ODI) • Jiajun Xu (Institute of New Structural Economics, Peking University, INSE) • Kevin Gallagher (Boston University)
  • 13:35 – 13:50     Presentation of the paper Climate Change and the Project Cycle: A Comparative Analysis of Development Finance Institutions by Harvey Himberg (Green Climate Fund) • Kevin Gallagher (Boston University) • Jiajun Xu (INSE)
  • 13:50 – 14:20    Discussion
  • 14:20 – 14:25    Break 
  • 14:25 – 15:35    Working Group - Regulatory frameworks
  • 14:25 – 14:30    Introduction
  • 14:30 – 14:45     Presentation of the paper Financial Regulation of NDBs by Ricardo Gottschalk (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) • Lavinia Barros (The Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES) • Jiajun Xu (INSE)
  • 14:45 – 15:00     Presentation of the paper Climate Risks and DFI Regulation by Ulrich Hege (Toulouse School of Economics, TSE) • Frédéric Cherbonnier (TSE)
  • 15:00 – 15:30    Discussion (30mins)
  • 15:30 – 15:35    Wrap-up
November 4, 2020
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM (CET- Paris time)

13:00 – 14:20   Working Group - Business Model of Development Banks


  • 13:00 – 13:15    Presentation of the paper Effective Development Banking: Loans or Guarantees?  by Eduardo Fernández-Arias (Visiting Research Fellow, Peking University) • Jiajun Xu (INSE)
  • 13:15 – 13:30    Presentation of the paper Matching Risks with Instruments in Development Banks by Stephany Griffith-Jones (Columbia University) • Shari Spiegel (United Nations-Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNDESA) • Jiajun Xu (INSE) • Marco Carreras (Institute of Development Studies, IDS) • Natalya Naqvi (The London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE)
  • 13:30 – 13:45    Presentation of the paper The allocation of resources of national development banks by Laurent Wagner (Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development, FERDI)
  • 13:45 – 14:15    Discussion
  • 14:15 – 14:20        Break 
  • 14:25 – 15:30    Working Group - Governance of DFIs
  • 14:30 – 14:45    Presentation of the paper The autonomy of National Development Banks by Tianyang Xi (National School of Development, Peking University, PKU) • Jiajun Xu (INSE)
  • 14:45 – 15:00    Presentation of the paper  A review of governance and performance of National Development Banks in Africa by
     Samantha Attridge (ODI)
  • 15:00 – 15:30    Discussion
November 5, 2020
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (CET- Paris time)

13:30 – 14:50    Working Group - Inclusion of Development Banks in the Global Financial Architecture


  • 13:35 – 13:50    Presentation of the paper National Development Banks and the Global Development Financial Architecture by
     José Antonio Ocampo (School of International and Public Affairs, SIPA, Columbia University)
  • 13:50 – 14:05    Presentation of the paper  Exchange Rate and Balance of payment risks in the global development finance architecture by
    Alfredo Curutchet Schclarek (National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Argentina) • Jiajun Xu (INSE)
  • 14:05 – 14:20    Presentation of the paper From global to local: subnational development banks in the era of Sustainable Development Goals by Sergio Gusmão Suchodolski (Development Bank of Minas Gerais, BDMG) • Adauto Modesto Junior (BDMG) • Cinthia Helena de Oliveira Bechelaine (BDMG)
  • 14:20 – 14:50    Discussion
  • (TBC)    Planning Ahead: Research agenda in the year of 2021 and beyond (1h) (Participants: co-ordinators and co-chairs)

Open Discussion Days

9-10 November 2020

The Open Discussion Days gathered researchers, Public Development Banks representatives and other stakeholders, to reflect on the key role development banks and DFIs could play for building an efficient global development finance architecture. 

It aimed to deliver concrete, evidence-based recommendations to decision-makers.


9 November, 2020
1:00 PM to -3:45 PM (CET - Paris time)
  • 13:00 –13:05    Master of ceremonies: Asha Sumputh
  • 13:05 –13:10    Opening Remarks: Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer at AFD
  • 13:10 –13:15    Keynote - Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize in Economics
  • 13:15 –13:30    Understanding Development Finance Institutions- Defining development banks 

Presentation of the Development banks database. 

Jiajun Xu, Institute for New Structural Economics at Peking University (China) • Régis Marodon, Special Adviser on Sustainable Finance, Research Department AFD (France)

  • 13:30 –14:30    SDGs compatible investments: the trade-off between short term stimulus and long-term impacts

Moderator: Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director of IDDRI (France)

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor atthe University College London–UCL(UK) • Kevin Gallagher, Director of the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University (USA) • Friederike Köhler-Geib, chief economist of KfW (Germany) • Haje Schütte, Head of Development Finance Division at OCDE  • Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Global Director of theSustainable Finance Center, World Resources Institute (WRI)

  • 14:30 –14:35    Keynote -Masood Ahmed, chief executive officer of the CGDev. 

The Role of developing banks the construction of more resilient societies

  • 14:35 –15:35    Business Models : Mobilizing and allocating resources in a complex and uncertain situation

Moderator: Shari Spiegel, Chief of the Policy Analysis & Development Branch at UNDESA

Stephany Griffith-Jones, Financial Markets Director at Columbia University (England) • Bruno Cabrillac, Deputy Director General of Economics and International Relations for Banque de France, Senior Fellow at Ferdi (France) • Sergio Gusmão Suchodolski, Chief Executive Officer of the Development Bank of Minas Gerais –BDMG (Brazil) • Nancy Lee, senior policy fellow at CGDev (USA) • Serge Ekue, President of the West African Development Bank (BOAD)

  • 15:35 –15:40    Keynote-Carmen Reinhart, Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group 
  • 15:40 –15: 45    Concluding Remarks: Asha Sumputh
10 November, 2020
1:00 PM to -3:30 PM (CET - Paris time)
  • 13:00 –13:05    Master of ceremonies : Asha Sumputh
  • 13:05 –13:20    Unleashing the potential of Development Banks. Their diversity, economic role and potential for a sustainable recovery

Stephany Griffith Jones, Financial Markets Director at Columbia University (England) • Jiajun Xu, Institute for New Structural Economics at Peking University (China)

  • 13:20 –14:20    PDBs’ governance and the role of regulation

Moderator: Lavinia Barros de Castro, Manager at BNDES (Brazil)

Samantha Attridge, Senior Research Fellow at ODI (England) • Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, Professor of economics, chancellor and president ofthe University Cheikh Anta DIOP of Dakar (UCAD) • Ulrich Hege, Vice president of the Toulouse School of Economics (France) • Ricardo Gottschalk, Senior Economist, United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator, South Africa. • Emmanuelle Assouan, DGA for financial stability and operations at Banque de France and Supervisors Network for NGFS (France) -recorded video 

  • 14:20 –14:25    Keynote-Lord Nicholas Stern

Coordinated effort: how can different developing banks collaborate together to achieve the SDGs? The importance of a systematic view

  • 14:25 –15:25    Business as usual? Questioning the global development finance architecture

Moderator:José Antonio Ocampo, Columbia University 

Wencai Zhang, vice president of the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC)• Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Trade and Development Bank (Eastern and Southern Africa) • Alexia Latortue, Managing Director for Corporate Strategy at EBRD • Alfredo Schclarek Curutchet, Associate researcher, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

  • 15:25 –15:30    ConcludingRemarks. Thomas Melonio, Executive Director of Innovation, Research, and Knowledgeat AFD