PARIS (Reuters) – Leaders meeting this week at a summit in Paris are set to back a push for multilateral development banks like the World Bank to put more capital at risk to boost lending, according to a draft summit statement seen by Reuters.
Multilateral development banks are expected to be at the centre of talks on Thursday and Friday in the French capital when nearly 40 heads of state and government meet to nail down a roadmap for easing the debt burdens on low-income countries and making more funds available for climate financing.
An expert panel review for G20 nations last year found that multilateral lenders’ management, government shareholders and their credit rating agencies were too timid about their financial risks.
The panel suggested a greater risk tolerance could free up several hundreds of billions dollars over the medium term.
A summit statement on multilateral development banks, which as a draft is subject to change, calls for a new push to be made “to optimise the use of capital by MDBs and encourage them to pursue innovative measures”.
“This should include exploring incorporating a prudent share of callable capital into MDB capital adequacy frameworks (and) diversifying their sources of funding (including by exploring issuance of hybrid capital),” the summit statement said.
Callable capital is the funds government shareholders would be expected to stump up if ever a major development bank suffered big losses depleting paid-in capital, which has so far never happened.
Hybrid capital is financial instruments that development banks could issue to investors to raise additional funds.
The statement said that capital hikes for some unspecified development banks could be considered, but left it up to the board of each one to determine if and when one was needed.
The leaders are also set to support plans for rich countries to re-channel some of their unused special drawing rights at the International Monetary Fund – a global reserve currency – to development banks, including the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
By John Irish