How MDBs are raising their game on infrastructure development

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One year ago, the multilateral development banks (MDBs) came together for the very first time to kick off a new approach to addressing infrastructure development. The Global Infrastructure Forum, an outcome of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, offered a platform allowing governments, MDBs, United Nations agencies, and other developmental partners to mobilize resources for infrastructure development.
This year, the Global Infrastructure Forum 2017 will be held on April 22nd in Washington D.C. Besides improving coordination, the Forum aims to stimulate infrastructure investment by both the public and private sectors and support implementation of infrastructure projects in developing countries.
Why is this important? Because the Forum brings all major players in infrastructure development to the same table around four key themes:

  • Good data on infrastructure that helps governments and MDBs plan infrastructure development strategy more effectively, such as data on demand, spending levels (both public and private), and the investment climate.
  • Building consensus on public-private partnership (PPP) standards to encourage the adoption of universal best practices.
  • Strengthening project preparation to create a pipeline of bankable infrastructure projects, which is essential for closing the infrastructure gap.
  • Promoting financing for infrastructure, particularly from the private sector—recognizing the private sector has an important role to play in infrastructure development.

Is it working?

A full year has passed since the first Forum took place in April 2016, and it’s only fair to ask what impact it has had. In my view it has made a difference—I’ve seen an acceleration in activity and collaboration supporting the issues identified in the 2016 Forum. For example: At the 2017 Forum, the MDBs will be making further commitments on working together and with other development partners to achieve the SDGs. Watch this space for an update.

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We look forward to hear from you: Flagging a new World Bank Group consultation on the Guidelines for the Development of a Policy for Managing Unsolicited Proposals in Infrastructure Projects.  Submit your feedback here - Now open through May 7, 2017.


Clive Harris

Lead Infrastructure Specialist, Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Global Practice, World Bank

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