The Rockefeller Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Create New Multilateral Development Banks Challenge Fund To Increase Investment in Developing Countries

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Rockefeller Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Create New Multilateral Development Banks Challenge Fund To Increase Investment in Developing Countries

New fund will help to expand capacity of development banks around the world to scale up lending in low- and middle-income countries in line with the new G20 Capital Adequacy Review Commission recommendations

WASHINGTON, DC | October 12, 2022 ― With the 2022 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group underway, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and The Rockefeller Foundation announce they are collaborating on a new grant fund aimed at unlocking more financing by multilateral development banks (MDBs) to low- and middle-income countries. The group is making an initial commitment of up to $5.25 million. By aligning its assistance around the recommendations made by the G20 Independent Review of MDBs’ Capital Adequacy Frameworks report released in July, the goal of the MDB Challenge Fund is to help accelerate financing for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement.

“The time is now for much more ambitious and creative financing from the World Bank and the entire MDB system to support global economic resilience in the face of compounding health, food, fuel, and climate crises,” said Mike Muldoon, current Chief of Staff at The Rockefeller Foundation and former member of the independent panel commission by the G20 to conduct the Review of MDBs’ Capital Adequacy Frameworks. “The MDB Challenge Fund is a much-needed solution to helping these institutions take concrete steps to dramatically increase their funding and impact.”

The G20 report contains a series of recommendations that have the potential to unlock tens of billions of dollars in new development finance with little to no cost to shareholders and while safeguarding the financial integrity of the MDBs. The announcement of the new Fund comes on the heels of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen remarks about the changes needed in incentives, operating models, and uses of banks’ financial resources to enable evolution of these institutions.  Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley made similar remarks at the UN General Assembly last month, showing convergence on the need for the MDBs to do more.

“Multilateral Development Banks play a critical role in the global development finance system. They finance demands to address critical priorities like reducing child mortality, building climate resilient agriculture, and advancing gender equality that continue to exceed lending envelopes. We are confident that the MDB Challenge Fund will surface new ideas and thinking on how MDBs can more efficiently use their resources without compromising their financial integrity,” said Kalpana Kochhar, director of development policy and finance at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition, the G20 Capital Adequacy Frameworks report reinforced findings by organizations like the Center for Global Development, which released an analysis showing that MDB capital adequacy policies are significantly more conservative than their charters permit, with statutory headroom on average four times more than prudential limits indicate. Its calculations, which were based largely on equity to loan ratios, suggest that just the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and African Development Bank, together, could potentially support over $280 billion in additional lending annually.

“We’ve seen clear indications of public support for mobilizing the required solidarity funds to meet our shared development and climate goals. The G20 Capital Adequacy Framework report provides a blueprint to unlocking those resources. This MDB Challenge Fund will help turn that blueprint into concrete measures to fund the necessary response to the converging and multiplying crises the world must confront including those around food, energy and debt,” said Laura Carvalho, Global Director of Equity at Open Society Foundations.

When the Fund releases its first Request for Proposals later this year, it will solicit proposals to support a range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Technical assistance to address potential barriers to leveraging shareholders’ capital contributions and maximizing financing as determined by MDBs’ capital adequacy frameworks. This could include innovative solutions around risk transfer by the MDBs, such as the increased use of securitization.
  • Operational funding to finance components or pilot stages of reform initiatives that can facilitate proof of concept for subsequent scaling.
  • Policy analysis to help assess and tailor policy changes within MDBs that enable institutionalizing and scaling innovative solutions.

The MDB Challenge Fund will be managed by the New Venture Fund. Inquiries can be directed to

About The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees.

About Open Society Foundation

The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, are the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. Built on a belief that the solutions to the national, regional, and global challenges we face demand the free exchange of ideas and thought, and that everyone should have a voice in shaping the policies that affect them, we work to build vibrant and inclusive societies, grounded in respect for human rights and the rule of law, whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. For more information, visit

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.