Here is a report I worked on with other DfID colleagues in 2014 while based in the Multilateral Effectiveness Department. This attempted to map the mandates, activities and spending of a whole range of multilateral development banks and agencies in areas related to economic development in Low Income Countries (LIC’s) – including agriculture, industry, infrastructure, trade and finance.
The report demonstrates clearly that there are some important questions about the overall coherence of the multilateral aid architecture in that some sectors appear to be quite crowded e.g. agriculture and trade while others are less well covered e.g. urbanisation and energy. The report also highlights that the vast majority of multilateral resources for economic development go to a range of Middle Income Countries (MICs) and better performing and more stable LICs, while the most fragile and least developed countries, who have fewer options to obtain financing for development from other non-official sources, receive comparatively little support in terms of actual recorded financial flows. This raises questions about whether the types of financing instruments that multilateral agencies have available and their risk/ return profiles are really suited to meet the needs of those at the “bottom of the pyramid”?