Yellen to push next steps for development bank evolution at spring meetings By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday will host a roundtable discussion on further steps to evolve the World Bank and other development lenders to tackle climate change and other global crises beyond a $5 billion annual World Bank lending expansion, the Treasury said.

The discussion on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings will bring together finance ministers from major shareholders and borrowing countries that will cover “ways to maintain momentum to evolve the multilateral development banks to better meet current challenges,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The World Bank has proposed balance sheet changes that would quickly allow it to lend an additional $50 billion over 10 years while maintaining its top-tier AAA credit rating, a step widely expected to be adopted by bank shareholders this week.

A U.S. Treasury official called the move a “downpayment” on the reforms for the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, an early opportunity “to get the process rolling.”

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The official said Yellen would hold discussions about operational changes aimed at harnessing more private capital and creating public-private partnerships to tackle climate change and other global problems such as pandemic preparedness and economic fragility.

    “We will continue to push for more reforms in the operational model,” the official said. “We will also continue to look at different ways to use the recommendations coming out of the capital adequacy framework recommendations, to try to open up more capacity using the balance sheet as it currently.”

    The official said Yellen was hoping to lay out another roadmap to make more progress on the banks’ operational model and financial capacity.

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