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Multilateral Development Banks and Burma: A Resource Book from the Bank Information Center

By Bank Information Center  •  October 1, 2004

Multilateral development banks, or MDBs, are a significant source of economic assistance for developing countries. MDBs lend tens of billions of dollars to low and middle income countries each year. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) loans $5 to 6 billion a year to its borrowing countries. If and when the MDBs decide to resume engagement with Burma, they could be a very large source of financial support for Burma’s development agenda.

Many of those in the movement to promote democracy in Burma have engaged in debates and discussions about whether or not economic assistance should be extended to the military regime. The Resource Book is meant to help expand this discussion to include the issue of multilateral assistance from MDBs. It is critical for those working toward democracy in Burma to learn about MDBs now, so that as the MDBs start to operate fully in Burma, we will be able to work to ensure that principles of sustainable development and good governance are incorporated in the MDBs’ operations.

How to use the Resource Book

Part I of the Resource Book provides fundamental information about the structure and policies of the World Bank and the ADB that we as members of civil society need to know when we monitor and engage with the institutions. Part II of the Resource Book provides information about the World Bank’s and the ADB’s current engagement with Burma. Suggestions for taking action are listed in bold on the side margins.

We recommend reading Part I if the reader is not yet familiar with MDBs. Parts I and II can be used separately in a workshop or class. Suggested activities and discussion questions are listed at the end of each Part, as well as after the case studies in Appendix B.

There are many existing resources that provide further, more detailed information about the World Bank and the ADB that interested readers may turn to. Some of those resources are listed in Appendix C. Appendix C is organized according to the order and contents of the main text. For example, additional information about the contents of section I-3 of the Resource Book is listed in section I-3 of Appendix C.

Also in the Appendices are a glossary of terms, case studies of MDB-funded projects, and lists of key contacts at the World Bank, the ADB, and civil society organizations.

Download the resource book in English or Burmese here.

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This post is in: Aid, Economy, Environmental and Economic Justice

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