FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2001

Paul Volcker and José Angel Gurria Co-Chair
New Commission on
World Bank and Other Multilateral Banks:
A New Role in Emerging Markets?

Does World Bank and other multilateral development bank lending to emerging markets still make sense? Skeptics argue that the banks are no longer relevant for countries with reasonable access to private capital. To examine this issue, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Emerging Markets Partners, and the Inter-American Dialogue, have set up a commission to assess the activities of multilateral development banks in the major emerging markets, and recommend new policies appropriate to today’s global economy.

The commission, co-chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Mexican Finance Minister José Angel Gurria, will present its final report and recommendations to policy communities in the Unites States and abroad at the time of the April 2001 meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“We hope the commission’s findings will help shape the debate about the future of the multilateral banks, at a critical moment as the new Bush administration formulates its approach on international finance,” says Nancy Birdsall, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and a commission member.

The commission will focus on four questions: 1) Should multilateral development banks continue to lend to emerging-market countries? 2) If so, what purposes should the loans serve and under what conditions should they be offered? 3) How should the banks relate to private capital markets? and 4) What role should large emerging-market borrowers play in the banks? Should they have a greater say in decision making in these global institutions?

The commission is composed of some 20 distinguished political, business, and academic leaders, including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady and former World Bank President Robert McNamara. It will revisit the findings of the Meltzer Commission on the role of the World Bank and the other multilateral banks. That commission, named for its head, Allan H. Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University, presented its report to the U.S. Congress in March 2000. It recommended that the World Bank and regional development banks withdraw completely from lending to countries with significant access to private capital.

For more information on the new Carnegie Endowment co-sponsored commission, including a list of participants, visit http://www.carnegieendowment.org/worldbank.