Ugandan Women

Regional Development Banks

The African Development Bank

Often working closely with the World Bank and other lenders, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is already involved in or considering support for destructive dam projects such as Bujagali in Uganda, Inga in the DRC, and Gibe 3 in Ethiopia. Over the coming years, the AfDB hopes to scale-up its support for large infrastructure projects like big dams and regional transmission links. These trends are cause for concern, especially considering the AfDB's lack of transparency and capacity to manage and supervise environmentally and socially projects.

The Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been an enthusiastic supporter of hydropower, large irrigation and other infrastructure projects in Asia for decades. This trend is poised to continue, with more than US$900 million proposed for hydropower projects from 2007 to 2009, including new dams in Laos and Nepal. The Manila-based ADB is struggling to remain relevant in a region where strong emerging economies have ready access to capital. In misguided response, the ADB is weakening its safeguard policies and re-thinking its proclaimed “poverty-reduction” focus.

The European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term investment bank of the European Union. It lends money to projects that contribute to the integration, development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States and otherwise advance the EU’s policy objectives.

The Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter–American Development Bank (IADB or IDB) is the largest regional multilateral development bank in Latin America. Over the past decade, the IDB has approved $69 billion in loans, and has been a major driver of regional infrastructure integration programs, such as Plan Puebla Panama in Mesoamerica and the Initiative for the Integration of Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA). The bank has recently been involved in the Reventazón Dam in Costa Rica, the Chaglla Dam in Perú, and the Amaila Falls Dam in Guyana.

The Latin American Development Bank (CAF)

The Latin American Development Bank, formerly named Corporación Andina de Fomento (Andean Development Corporation), is another important multilateral financial institution. Focusing particularly on the Andean region, CAF provides twice the level of financing regionally that the IDB does. About half of the $3.5 billion it loaned in 2004 went to large infrastructure projects. The CAF has very weak environmental and social policies, and has no independent body to address complaints by populations adversely affected by its loans.

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES)

An increasingly powerful financial agency is Brazil’s National Development Bank, BNDES. BNDES approves more than $20 billion in loans annually, and has funded heavily controversial mega-dams such as Belo Monte, Santo Antônio and Jirau, and the Teles Pires Dam, and is likely to fund mega-dams and dam cascades in the Tapajós and Juruena basins. It has extended financing for regional infrastructure projects, and has financed roads, dams, and transmission lines in other Latin American and African countries through its export–import bank. Like other emerging dam financiers, BNDES lacks substantive environmental policies.

More information: 
  • Multilateral Development Banks' Project Pipelines: A quarterly report on dam projects to watch out for at the the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank