IFI governance


Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2016

2 February 2017 | Resource


Honey at the top; Grasp the Nettle Films

A film about the Sengwer forest people in Kenya being evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of conservation, including the role played by the World Bank.


Reality check: Community voices on World Bank safeguards review; Justice & Empowerment Initiatives

A short film gathering voices from residents of slums in Lagos, Nigeria, impacted by a World Bank-financed project, in light of the World Bank safeguards review.



Beyond US hegemony in international development: The contest for influence at the World Bank; Xu Jiajun

Examines how power transitions have played out in the World Bank over the last five decades, including international diplomacy behind donor financing of the International Development Association, the World Bank’s low-income country lending arm, and the role of China.

Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1107172845


Licensed larceny: Infrastructure, financial extraction and the global South; Nicholas Hildyard

Explores how roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways are being eyed up by finance and transformed into an asset class through which private investors are guaranteed income streams at the public’s expense.

Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-1-7849-9427-3


World Bank accountability: In theory and in practice; Andria Naude Fourie

Analyses who IFIs should be accountable to and for what, through a case study of the World Bank’s accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel.

Eleven International Publishing, ISBN 978-94-6236-599-5


Reports and briefings

Civil society guide to the GFF; PAI

This guide to the World Bank-hosted Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Woman Every Child aims to support CSOs to meaningfully contribute to its development, implementation, and monitoring.


Do the results match the rhetoric? An examination of World Bank gender projects; Centre for Global Development

Seeks to analyse the degree to which a gender lens has been incorporated into World Bank projects and assess the success of individual projects according to gender equality-related indicators.


Financing forced labour: The legal and policy implications of World Bank loans to the government of Uzbekistan; International Labor Rights Forum

Highlights violations of international law and potential legal consequences if the World Bank continues to provide loans to the Uzbek government, considering the risk of systematic forced labour.


Gender-just macroeconomics: Engaging the IMF and World Bank; Bretton Woods Project

A guide for civil society on why macroeconomics matters to gender equality; how the IMF and World Bank shape global macroeconomic policy; and the ways in which civil society can advocate for gender-just macroeconomic policies that work for everyone.


Glass half full? The state of accountability in development finance; Accountability Counsel, Both Ends, CEE, CHR & GJ, CIEL, Counter Balance, FUNDEPS, IDI, Natural Justice, SOMO, Washington College

Documents the hurdles communities and workers face in obtaining remedy from development banks whose projects cause them harm, calling on them to strengthen their systems.


The IFC and tax havens: The need to support more responsible corporate tax behaviour; Oxfam

Reveals that a majority of the companies that were lent money by the International Finance Corporation in 2015 to finance investments in sub-Saharan Africa use tax havens.


The IMF and gender equality: A critical analysis; Bretton Woods Project

Questions the sustainability of the Fund’s new approach to gender equality and reveals that the Fund’s analysis so far is limited and inconsistent with the full achievement of women’s economic empowerment.


The IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal; Independent Evaluation Office

Assesses the IMF’s engagement with the 2010 to 2013 crises in the euro area, focusing on Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and identified several weaknesses, including lack of foresight of the magnitude of the risks; over optimistic projections; issues around decision making; and lack of transparency.


Missing the forest for the carbon? A critical analysis of the FCPF carbon fund and emissions reductions programs in Africa; Environmental Investigation Agency

Identifies significant shortcomings in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) approach and rules, as well as constraints in the ability of the FCPF to influence business-as-usual lending by the World Bank.


Outsourcing development: Lifting the veil on the World Bank Group’s lending through financial intermediaries; Inclusive Development International, with 11.11.11, Accountability Counsel, Urgewald, BIC

A series of reports documenting the social and environmental impacts of the International Finance Corporation’s funding for financial intermediaries, including a report on financing for coal.


Owning the outcomes: Time to make the World Bank Group’s financial intermediary investments more accountable; Oxfam and Inclusive Development International

Highlights the lack of accountability for the International Finance Corporation’s investments through financial intermediaries, leading to devastating impacts on many poor communities.


Public-private partnerships and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development: Fit for purpose?; United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Reviews the literature on public-private partnerships and identifies areas requiring better understanding and institutional innovation for ensuring value for money, minimising contingent fiscal risk and improving accountability.


Rise of the global South and descent of the North? Exploration of the rise of the global South and its impact on international financial architecture; Daniela Magalhães Prates and Luiza Peruffo

Notes that recent reforms to the IMF and World Bank governance and the establishment of new Southern-led IFIs are symbolically important, however, they are thus far not a rupture with the Western-dominated international financial architecture.


Risky business – who benefits from the Southern Gas Corridor?; Bankwatch

Argues that the Southern Gas Corridor, with substantial funding from public banks, is set to benefit a host of companies and individuals with shady track records.


Schooling the poor profitably: the innovations and deprivations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda; Right to Education Project

Investigates the operations of World Bank-supported Bridge International Academies in Uganda and its profit-driven, standardised ‘Academy-in-a-Box’ approach, supported by the World Bank, which neglects legal and educational standards.


The proposed new Kosovo power plant: An unnecessary burden at an unreasonable price; Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

Explores how the proposed coal-fired Kosovo Power plant, under consideration for World Bank funding, would cause the price of electricity in Kosovo to rise to unreasonable levels and result in adverse health and environmental impacts.


Unhealthy development: How DFID promotes health privatisation; UNISON

Exposes how the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is implementing its healthcare privatisation agenda through consultants, multi- agency programmers, the CDC Group, and multilateral agencies, such as World Bank Group.


Academic papers

Catalysing aid? The IMF and donor behaviour in aid allocation; Thomas Stubbs, Alexander Kentikelenis, Lawrence King

Assesses whether the IMF’s programmes encourage aid by signalling policy credibility, by investigating sector-specific aid for bilateral and multilateral donors for 136 recipient countries 1986-2009.


IMF conditionality and development policy space, 1985–2014; Alexander Kentikelenis, Thomas Stubbs, Lawrence King

Reviews policy conditionalities in IMF loan agreements in order to assess whether the IMF’s recently changed rhetoric represents actual changes, including in terms of allowing more policy space for governments and the protection of labour and social policies.


The IMF’s unmet challenges; Barry Eichengreen, Ngaire Woods

Argues that if the IMF is seeking to play a more effective role, it needs to address its problems of legitimacy, and outlines four main challenges, including the quality of its surveillance and the utility of its approach to debt problems.


Neoliberalism with a feminist face: Crafting a new hegemony at the World Bank; Elisabeth Prügl

Examines the growing research on gender at the World Bank as a site for the construction of a new hegemonic consensus around neoliberalism, documenting the Bank’s efforts to establish a positive relationship between gender equality and growth.


Poverty and policy selectivity for World Bank trust funds; Vera Eichenauer, Stephen Knack

Looks at the significant increase in funding for the World Bank’s trust funds, and assesses their relationship to the Bank’s International Development Association.


The World Bank: Why it is still needed and why it still disappoints; Martin Ravallion

Analyses the role of the World Bank, including its quest to be a “knowledge bank”, arguing that the Bank has not fulfilled its potential in terms of supplying the public good of development knowledge.


The World Bank and emerging powers: Beyond the multipolarity-multilateralism conundrum; Ali Burak Güven

Looks at the discrepancy between the increasingly multipolar world economy and the limited representativeness of organisations, by analysing World Bank loan commitments to seven borrowers.