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    Multilateral development banks

    Multilateral development banks, or MDBs, are supranational institutions set up by sovereign states, which are their shareholders. Their remits reflect the development aid and cooperation policies established by these states.

    They have the common task of fostering economic and social progress in developing countries by financing projects, supporting investment and generating capital for the benefit of all global citizens.

    MDBs also play a major role on the international capital markets, where they raise the large volume of funds required to finance their loans.

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is both an investment bank and a global development bank, active inside the European Union and around the world.

    In fact, on account of the volume of its borrowing and lending, the EIB is sometimes described as the largest multilateral development bank (MDB).

    As the financing institution of the European Union, we focus the bulk of our activity on projects that promote balanced development and integration within the EU.

    The EIB also provides financial support in over a hundred non-EU countries with which we have concluded association, partnership or pre-accession agreements and which support the EU's objectives. Our investments in these countries target mainly climate action and environment, basic infrastructure, communications and industrial joint ventures.

    Multilateral development banks (MDBs) have a long history of working together, both at institutional and operational level.

    Some of the strategic areas of MDB cooperation are:

    • Climate action: Coordination is particularly intense in this area, as MDBs play an important part in making the Paris agreement a reality. Since 2011, MDBs have been publishing joint reports on climate finance. The European Investment Bank (EIB) tracks climate finance using definitions developed and harmonised in cooperation with peer institutions.
    • Impact: The EIB is a signatory of the Operating Principles for Impact Management since 2019. Developed by the International Finance Organisation (IFC), the Principles represent a new market standard with the aim of bringing greater transparency, credibility and discipline to the impact investing market. The Principles also seek to maximise social and environmental impact and better returns for investors. Find out more on the EIB Disclosure Statement Operating Principles for Impact Management.
    • Migration: Since 2016, various MDBs, including the EIB, have been participating in a working group on migration and forced displacement. Among other collaboration initiatives, they share assessments and identify joint projects as well an innovative financing mechanisms.
    • Jobs and growth: Jobs are at the heart of the development community’s objective of ending poverty, in line with the UN sustainable development goals. In cooperation with the other MDBs and interested donor countries, the EIB supports the Let's Work Partnership, which aims at creating more and better private sector jobs globally.

    Some recent areas of collaboration among MDBs include mobilisation of private finance, risk management in emerging markets (GEMs database) and blended finance for private sector operations.

    Overall, more than a hundred working groups, task forces and expert circles have been set up by MDBs in order to exchange knowledge and develop common standards.

    The EIB participates in the annual general meetings of other multilateral banks, notably the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It is also a shareholder in the latter, alongside the European Union.

    Joint publications

    Brian Power

    A toolbox for private sector investment

    It takes more than one organisation to advance development. That’s why MDBs are joining forces to strengthen private sector investments in developing countries across the globe.

    Instruments made available by these organisations are now part of a Global Toolbox for governments, investors and a variety of private sector entities.