"Multilateral development banks (MDBs) are international institutions that provide financial assistance, typically in the form of loans and grants, to developing countries in order to promote economic and social development. The United States is a member and significant donor to five major MDBs. These include the World Bank and four smaller regional development banks: the African Development Bank (AfDB); the Asian Development Bank (AsDB); the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Congress plays a critical role in shaping U.S. policy at the MDBs through funding and oversight of U.S. participation in the institutions. This report provides an overview of the MDBs and highlights major issues for Congress. The first section discusses how the MDBs operate, including the history of the MDBs, their operations and organizational structure, and the effectiveness of MDB financial assistance. The second section discusses the role of Congress in the MDBs, including congressional legislation authorizing and appropriating U.S. contributions to the MDBs and congressional oversight of U.S. participation in the MDBs. The third section discusses broad policy debates about the MDBs, including their effectiveness, the trade-offs between providing aid on a multilateral or bilateral basis, the changing landscape of multilateral aid, and U.S. commercial interests in the MDBs."
CRS Report for Congress, R41170