Creating a Twenty-first-Century Business Model for the IBRD
March 7, 2018
As of late February 2018, the World Bank Group is seeking a capital increase from its shareholders for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the lending arm of middle-income countries, and for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private-sector arm. This paper focuses primarily on a potential capital increase for the IBRD because most of the attention will be on the IBRD. If the capital increase is approved, it would represent an almost immediate follow-on to the IBRD capital increase of 2010, when the IBRD received an additional $5.1 billion in paid-in capital from shareholders that allowed an $86.2 billion increase in callable capital. This new request also comes at a time when the World Bank’s shareholders recently agreed to the 18th replenishment for the International Development Association (IDA)—that is, “IDA-18.” The recent IDA-18 replenishment is instructive for the World Bank’s new IBRD request: as part of the negotiations, shareholders sought and received several reform pledges, including greater commitments for the IDA funds to leverage the private sector and to work more in fragile states. Any capital increase should not dilute U.S. shareholding or U.S. leadership of the World Bank Group as the United States has traditionally played an important role in making the institution a more effective and accountable organization. It is unclear whether a capital increase is needed now for the World Bank Group and for IBRD and IFC in particular, and shareholders are right to question whether the IBRD and IFC need more capital and how it would use additional capital.