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Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff says “far too little attention has been devoted to understanding why multilateral development lending has so often failed”. In his experience, MDBs are most valuable as “knowledge” banks — sharing soft development infrastructure such as experience and best practices rather than financial muscle. The latter, he says, has led to their “greatest failures”.
Just as China took a moment to enjoy Washington and Tokyo’s discomfort over Europe’s biggest economies declaring in favour of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank, Washington and Tokyo took a moment to caution joiners to beware of governance standards. We say: beware of multilateral development banks in general.