The World Bank is evaluating a plan that would boost lending by $50 billion over the next decade through changes to its rules, aiming to present it at the lender’s Spring Meetings next month, people familiar with the matter said.
The strategy is the biggest proposed deliverable from the first phase of the bank’s so-called evolution roadmap, according to the people who asked not to be identified because they don’t have permission to speak publicly.
It comes in response to urging from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other Group of 20 leaders for the bank to find ways to stretch existing resources to meet challenges such as climate change and pandemics.
Key to the strategy is lowering the minimum equity-to-lending ratio at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank’s arm that lends to middle-income and creditworthy low-income nations, to 19% from the current 20%. That would allow the institution to take more risk with its existing capital, the people said.
World Bank executive directors are set to discuss the plan in the coming weeks. It then would then go to its governors for consideration during the meetings in the second week of April.
The bank is also weighing the adoption of explicit goals to boost sustainability and resilience, in addition to its current mission of reducing poverty and boosting prosperity, the people said.
The World Bank confirmed the development of a paper about the lender’s vision and mission for next month’s Spring Meetings, without commenting on the details.
The almost 80-year-old World Bank’s overhaul was spurred by a G-20 review of multilateral development banks’ so-called capital-adequacy framework released last year, which Yellen promotes. Among other measures, it allows the institution to share more funds and take on more risk.
The US, the World bank’s largest shareholder, is pushing the lender to more aggressively extend its balance sheet while preserving its AAA credit rating.
World Bank President David Malpass announced his early resignation last month, and US President Joe Biden has nominated Ajay Banga, the former chief of Mastercard Inc., to replace him. Washington’s candidate has traditionally taken the top spot at the World Bank.
While the changes being discussed involve adding billions of dollars to the World Bank’s lending ability, Banga has said that the needs of the developing world are in the trillions, beyond what public institutions alone can meet, and has called on private-sector lenders to increase efforts to fight poverty.