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The Multilateral Development Banks: Volume 1, The African Development Bank

E. Philip English and Harris M. Mule
The Multilateral Development Banks: Volume 1, The African Development Bank
ISBN: 978-1-55587-467-4
ISBN: 978-1-55587-493-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-306-8
1996/216 pages/LC: 94-45003

"A valuable contribution to understanding the functioning of the ADB."—Victor Murinde, African Affairs

"This expert and candid review presents a balance sheet of the ADB's accomplishments and shortcomings and recommends ways to strengthen its comparative advantage with the indigenous expertise and rapport too often lacking among larger multilateral lenders."—Foreign Affairs

"A substantial contribution ... Written in as dispassionate and well-researched a style as anyone could wish, this book will be essential reading for anyone concerned with the role of the ADB as a catalyst for development of the continent."—Eric Watkins, African Business Magazine


The multilateral banks are powerful forces in the international community, providing loans of more than $250 billion to developing countries over the last half-century. The best-known of these, the World Bank, has been studied extensively, but the "regional development banks" are little understood, even within their own geographic regions.

This book looks specifically at the policies and projects of the African Development Bank, which, like the other multilateral banks, is being criticized increasingly by grassroots organizations, environmental groups, and others.

Drawing on case studies, the authors respond to some basic questions: Has the African Development Bank in fact been an effective agent of development? Has it been a mere clone of the World Bank, susceptible to that agency's weaknesses, as well as its strengths? They also assess the bank's ability to take on the emerging challenges on the development agenda, including such issues as governance, military spending, and the need for gender-sensitive development strategies.


E. Philip English is a Washington, D.C.-based economist, having worked at both the North-South Institute and the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. He worked at the African Development Bank from 1985 to 1988 and is author of Canadian Development Assistance to Haiti and Canadian Development Assistance to Senegal. Harris M. Mule is a freelance economist, and was for fourteen years deputy permanent secretary and then permanent secretary in the Kenyan government's Ministry of Finance and Planning, and for a further five years in senior positions at the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Mule is on the boards of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and the African Capacity Building Foundation in Harare, Zimbabwe.


  • Introduction.
  • History in the Making.
  • Governance and the Governed.
  • Lending a Hand: Projects and Programs.
  • Country Case Studies: A View from the Field.
  • Mobilizing and Managing Money.
  • Crosscutting Issues: A Full Agenda.
  • The Way Ahead.
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