2015 Development Policy Financing Retrospective - Results and Sustainability


  • This Retrospective focuses on how reforms supported by Development Policy Financing contribute to equitable growth and poverty reduction, taking into account environmental, social and economic sustainability.
  • The Retrospective includes country case studies, figures, and charts designed to highlight lessons learned.

Every three years, the World Bank reviews its experience with Development Policy Financing. The 2015 Retrospective provides a systematic analysis of all development policy operations approved between April 2012 and December 2014 to identify lessons learned. The Retrospective also presents long-term trends in development policy financing, covering the first 10 years of the instrument.

The World Bank staff use the analysis to improve the way they support countries. The findings were informed by global public consultations.

What is Development Policy Financing?

One of the World Bank’s three financing tools, Development Policy Financing helps countries achieve development results by supporting a program of policy and institutional reforms provided through general budget financing.

Development Policy Financing is a robust and flexible tool supporting a diverse set of countries, from middle-income ones, such as Turkey, to low-income ones, such as Madagascar. The reforms that development policy operations support also cover the broad spectrum – from disaster risk management to fiscal reforms to social safety nets to environmental policy reforms.

Development policy operations make up approximately one-quarter of World Bank lending. This compares to roughly three-quarters of lending in Investment Project Finance. Total lending through Development Policy Financing in the last 10 years reached approximately $117 billion with a total of 630 operations and 22 supplemental financing operations. Following the spike during the global financial crises, when development policy lending was at its peak, total Bank commitments have returned to pre-crisis levels.


Development policy operations continue to perform well, meeting or exceeding corporate scorecard targets based on reviews from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG).



Chapters and annexes of the report include:

  • Ten Years of Development Policy Financing: Overall Trends
  • Reforms Supported by Development Policy Financing and their Alignment with Poverty and Shared Prosperity
  • Results in Development Policy Financing
  • Sustainability of Reforms Supported by Development Policy Financing
  • Recommendations: Measures to modernize Development Policy Financing options and measures to strengthen implementation of environmental and social requirements

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