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Posted on April 20, 2023 | Updated at 1PM

Three Reflections from the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings

Senior leadership at World Bank Spring Meetings

Pictured (From left): Representing FinDev Canada were Paulo Martelli, VP and Chief Investment Officer; Lori Kerr, CEO; David Bhamjee, VP and Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer; and Stéphanie Émond, VP and Chief Impact Officer (not pictured)


From April 10-16, 2023, the FinDev Canada leadership team was pleased to attend and participate in a wide range of discussions at the Annual Spring Meetings held by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group in Washington, DC. The meetings brought together central bankers, government officials, private sector executives, civil society representatives, multilateral development banks (MDBs), development finance institutions (DFIs), and academics to discuss the state of the global economy and issues of international concern, such as climate change, the growth outlook, financial stability, and poverty reduction. Throughout our discussions, we saw strong alignment with FinDev Canada’s strategy and direction.  


Here are three reflections from the week in Washington: 


1. There is strong alignment among stakeholders on the top development challenges 


Organizations are broadly aligned on our most pressing challenges. Among them is the urgent need for significant action to combat climate change with the participation of every stakeholder and the deployment of every available option. Development finance, and particularly the work of MDBs and DFIs, will play a critical role in addressing climate change and promoting market development and inclusion. In addition, the recognition that the private sector will be an essential partner, especially for DFIs, was evident throughout the discussions. More specifically, the mobilization of private capital to help address the challenges in front was a common theme.   


2. Realism and optimism need to operate in parallel 


Organizations must adopt a practical approach toward recognizing the magnitude and range of challenges that must be addressed. The recent COVID-19 pandemic, warfare, and worsening climate crisis have impeded developmental programs' progress in several regions. However, it is crucial to maintain a positive outlook and implement solutions to address these challenges with persistence. We must confront the most demanding problems with tenacity founded on the conviction that progress is achievable and necessary. Action must be frequently assessed to adapt, develop plans and act based on data. Instead of adopting a "misery loves company" mentality, we saw people embrace an "affinity drives action" mindset, realizing that collaboration and shared objectives will get us closer to where we need to be. This recognition underscores the importance of cooperation and promotes a more positive and proactive approach to tackling complex issues. 


3. There is strength in numbers and a common cause 


Our leadership team had the opportunity to engage with other DFIs, MDBs, government officials, financial institutions, and consultants to discuss our perspectives on ongoing progress and to propose solutions by leveraging the strengths of each organization. We all acknowledge that no single institution or group possesses complete knowledge or a comprehensive view of the issues and potential solutions. We can drive impact by sharing information and identifying solutions to tackle problems together, with a common understanding of the issues and everyone's role in deploying those solutions. 


This year’s IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings made it clear there is much work to do. Still, by working together for a common cause, the global community – public, private and all stakeholders – can put in place mechanisms for collaboration and make progress toward a more sustainable and prosperous future.