Development Banks: Lenders with Interest in Progress


I'm Bob Doughty with the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Development banks are international lending groups. They lend money to developing countries to help fuel economic growth and social progress. They are not part of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations. The money comes from member countries and borrowing on world markets.

Development banks provide long-term loans at market rates. They provide even longer-term loans at below market interest rates. These banks also provide technical assistance and advice.

There are four main ones. The oldest is the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. It began in nineteen fifty-nine. President Juscelino Kubitschek of Brazil had proposed a bank to aid economic growth in the Americas. The Organization of American States agreed.

Today the bank is worth over one hundred thousand million dollars. It holds only four percent of that. The other money is guaranteed by its members.

Forty-seven countries around the world own the bank. The United States owns thirty percent as the largest shareholder. Twenty-six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean borrow from the bank.

The African Development Bank has its roots in an agreement signed in Sudan in nineteen sixty-three. It is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

There are twenty-four members in the Americas, Europe and Asia in addition to the fifty-three in Africa. The country with the most votes in the bank is Nigeria, followed as of July by the United States, Japan and Egypt.

The Asian Development Bank started in nineteen sixty-six. It is based in Manila, in the Philippines. There are sixty-three members, mostly in Asia. Like all development banks, it is supervised by a Board of Governors.

Traditionally the bank president is Japanese. Japan and the United States were equally the top shareholders at the end of last year, followed by China, India and Australia. The bank says Indonesia has borrowed the most, but China, Pakistan and India have also been major borrowers in recent years.

The newest of the four main development banks is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It opened in nineteen ninety-one as the Soviet Union broke apart. The main office is in London. The United States is the largest shareholder. The bank was formed to support economic growth and democracy in Central Europe.

This VOA Special English Economics Report was written by Mario Ritter. I'm Bob Doughty.