Task Force on Development Banks and Sustainable Development

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China has helped establish a new family of development banks that rival the existing size and reach of the Western-led multi-lateral development banking system that has held dominance since World War II.  At their best, these new banks have the potential to complement the existing system and help finance a transition toward a pro-poor, low carbon, and more socially inclusive world economy.  Moreover, the new development banks have the potential to provide healthy competition to the Western-backed development banking system–one that has struggled to maintain its efficacy in a rapidly evolving world.  However, there is also a potential for the newly emerging system to ‘lock-in’ high carbon infrastructures that ‘lock-out’ opportunity for the world’s poor.

There is a very small window of opportunity, perhaps only a half-decade or so, to help shape the emerging development banking system toward the more sustainable and inclusive of those two pathways.  Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI) will devote significant effort over this period to helping members of the development banking community choose the more sustainable path.  Through collaborative research and policy dialogue with governments, civil society, the private sector, and the banks themselves, GEGI aims to bring a more empirical-based understanding of the extent to which development banks can finance low carbon economic activity in a manner that is accessible, acceptable, and economically beneficial for the world’s poor. 

In 2015 GEGI founded the Task Force on Development Banks and Sustainable Development that aims to examine the record of Chinese and other development banks in both the North and South in order to draw lessons for and engage with the newly emerging developing banking regime.  The overarching goal of this work is to help shape new development bank investments in a manner that spur economic development, social inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability.  The three (non-exclusive) areas of primary focus will be in power generation, infrastructure, and social and environmental safeguards.  In addition to the Task Force, GEGI will maintain, develop, and advance a series of open data public databases so that members of civil society, the news media, and policy-makers have a more transparent understanding of the relative level and composition of China-backed development finance in the global economy.

Task Force Members

bhattacharyaa_portraitAmar Bhattacharya is senior fellow at the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings Institution.  His focus areas are the global economy, development finance, global governance, and the links between climate and development.

studart_resizedRogerio Studart is a non-resident fellow at the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution and visiting fellow at Boston University’s Pardee School for Global Studies. He is associate professor of economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Formerly executive director and alternate director at the World Bank (2007-2014) and the Inter-American Development Bank (2003-2007), he focuses on global economics, emerging markets, development finance and international institutions.

humphriesChristopher Humphrey is a researcher at the Institute for Political Science, University of Zurich and a research associate at the Overseas Development Institute. He specializes in development finance, with a focus on analyzing how multilateral development banks are adapting to an evolving world economy. Chris has worked as a consultant on development finance issues for numerous institutions, including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank, New Development Bank, G-24 and others. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics and a masters from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

bradlowDaniel D. Bradlow is SARCHI Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations at the University of Pretoria and Professor Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law. He was previously the first Head of the International Economic Relations and Policy Department at the South African Reserve Bank, and Chair of the Roster of Experts for the Independent Review Mechanism at the African Development Bank.

Stephany-Grifith_JonesStephany Griffith-Jones is an economist specializing in international finance and development, with emphasis on reform of the international financial system, specifically in relation to financial regulation, global governance and international capital flows. She is currently Financial Markets Director at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, based at Columbia University in New York and Associate Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She is also Emeritus at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University.

Nagesh.KumarDr. Nagesh Kumar is Director and Head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)’s South and South-West Asia Office, based in New Delhi. He earlier served as Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division (MPDD) at the ESCAP headquarters in Bangkok. He has also served as ESCAP’s Chief Economist during 2009-2013 and as Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP during September 2010- June 2011.

Yongzhong-Wang-125x150Yongzhong Wang, is deputy director and senior fellow at International Investment Department, Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CAAS). He also is a Professor at World Economics Department, Graduate School of CAAS.