The governance structures of multilateral development banks are out of step with economic and political realities. Multilateral development finance is critical for achieving development objectives, including the post-2015 sustainable development goals. Yet many of the ‘old’ multilateral institutions are under strain. Many traditional donors are unwilling and unable to increase funding in the context of budget constraints. Meanwhile, rising powers are not stepping up their support in line with their rapid economic growth. Instead they have promoted new competing institutions, the BRICS’ New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Europe in particular has an opportunity and responsibility to live up to its long-standing support of multilateral development assistance in ways that will increase the banks’ legitimacy and gain buy-in from the rising powers.

This policy memo by Senior Research Fellow Richard Manning sets out key recommendations for European governments and development banks to seize the initiative in helping to achieve development objectives.