Regional development banks

What are the regional development banks?

The regional development banks (RDBs) are international institutions which were founded in the 1960s. The aim of the RDBs is to help countries promote economic growth and reduce poverty by providing low interest loans, grants and expert advice for development projects.

What is the purpose of the regional development banks?

The RDBs play a vital role in poverty reduction. They focus on the Millennium Development Goals and provide support in a wide range of areas including healthcare, education, infrastructure, agriculture and energy. The RDBs are owned by member countries which include 'donor' countries and 'borrowing' countries. A key feature of the RDBs is that they are majority owned and staffed by regional countries. This means that countries in the region have the strongest influence over how the bank’s money would best be spent for the overall benefit of people in the region.

The RDBs played a crucial role during the economic downturn. By providing financial support and increasing lending, they helped to maintain economic stability in the world’s poorest countries. This prevented more people from falling into poverty, and enabled these countries to continue their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

How does the UK work with the regional development banks?

The UK is a shareholder of the following regional development banks:

In 2009 the UK contributed £187 million to the RDBs. In 2008 these four banks approved around £17.9 billion in loans, grants, technical assistance, investments, guarantees and debt relief. This money helped to build new roads, hospitals and schools; support agriculture and private businesses; as well as improve access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare and electricity for millions of people in the poorest countries of the world. DFID works closely with each bank to ensure that UK money is used effectively, and that key issues including sustainability, environmental impact, gender and climate change are taken into account in each project.


Last updated: 17 Mar 2009