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Think Change episode 12: do we need a new Bretton Woods agreement for the post-Covid era?

Written by José Antonio Ocampo, Rania Al-Mashat, Alexia Latortue, Sara Pantuliano, Annalisa Prizzon

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or search for "Think Change" in your favourite podcast player.

Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and leaders of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are heading to Washington for the Annual Meetings, to discuss how to respond to the grim forecast captured in the latest outlook for the global economy.

The IMF and the World Bank emerged from a pact between world leaders in the aftermath of another international catastrophe – World War II. Many other multilateral development banks have been created since then. Our research has shown that these banks are providing valued assistance to low- and middle-income countries around the world. They are also a critical tool for meeting our climate finance commitments.

But the effectiveness and the relevance of this system has long been challenged by member states. The Annual Meetings come just after the UN General Assembly, where this year the calls to reform the so-called Bretton Woods institutions were louder than ever before.

There are no simple solutions and the stakes are high.

How should economies protect themselves from the continuing impacts of the pandemic and the global supply chain crisis, while they fight the longer-term battle against climate change? Are the tools we have at our disposal fit for purpose, and if not – what should be done?


  • Sara Pantuliano (host), Chief Executive, ODI
  • José Antonio Ocampo, Minister of Finance, Colombia
  • Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt
  • Alexia Latortue, Assistant Secretary for International Trade and Development, US Treasury
  • Annalisa Prizzon, Senior Research Fellow, ODI

ODI at the Annual Meetings

Read our latest commentary and analysis on how multilateral development banks (MDBs) need reforming to meet the global challenges of today.

Find out more

World Bank Group Headquarters, 2018