Regional Development Banks
The African Development Bank
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a public development bank that lends money to African governments and private companies investing in Africa. While the AfDB is a relatively small player compared to the World Bank, its lack of citizen participation and the unequal balance of power in development decision-making often lead to projects and policies that harm communities and the environment, waste public funds, or serve the interests of political and economic elites rather than those of the poor.
Often working closely with the World Bank and other lenders, the AfDB is already involved in or considering support for destructive dam projects such as Bujagali in Uganda, Inga in the DRC, and Gibe 3 in Ethiopia. Over the coming years, the AfDB hopes to scale-up its support for large infrastructure projects like big dams and regional transmission links. These trends are cause for concern, especially considering the AfDB's lack of transparency and capacity to manage and supervise environmentally and socially projects.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a public development bank that offers loans to governments and the private sector of the Asia and Pacific region. The ADB has been an enthusiastic supporter of hydropower, large irrigation and other infrastructure projects in Asia for decades. This trend is poised to continue, with more than US$900 million proposed for hydropower projects from 2007 to 2009, including new dams in Laos and Nepal.
The Manila-based ADB is struggling to remain relevant in a region where strong emerging economies have ready access to capital. In misguided response, the ADB is weakening its safeguard policies and re-thinking its proclaimed “poverty-reduction” focus.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term investment bank of the European Union. It lends money to projects that contribute to the integration, development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States and otherwise advance the EU’s policy objectives.
The Inter–American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest regional multilateral development bank in Latin America. Over the past decade, the IDB has approved $69 billion in loans, and has been a major driver of regional infrastructure integration programs, such as Plan Puebla Panama in Mesoamerica and the Initiative for the Integration of Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA).