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New financial instruments

The IDB has recently introduced a series of new financial instruments that enables the Bank to offer a more flexible lending program that is more responsive to the needs of borrowing countries.

The Bank established a new, local currency facility in November 2005 that offers three options for local currency financing: local currency loans through currency conversion of disbursements or outstanding loan balances, direct currency swaps with Bank borrowers against existing Bank debt and local currency loans through the conversion of called guarantees.

The new instrument, an alternative to Bank lending in one of four hard currencies or a pool of hard currencies, is designed to meet expected demand for local currency financing from national and sub national governments as well as the private sector.

The Board of Executive Directors during 2005 approved on a pilot basis a local currency option for disbursements of $300 million loan to Mexico designed to contribute to decentralization by strengthening state administrations is such areas as budgeting, investment planning, accounting and transparency.

New Lending Framework

            The Bank modernized its approach to both investment and policy-based loans as part of a package of measures instituted by the Board of Governors and the Board of Executive Directors that constituted a new lending framework for 2004-2008 and the adoption of more flexible lending instruments.

During the Annual Meeting in Okinawa in 2005 the IDB governors eliminated limits on minimum disbursement periods and pre-fixed percentage requirements on the amount of local counterpart funds necessary for investment projects. They also modernized the policy on the eligibility of expenditures, now allowing under certain conditions the financing of taxes, fees, recurrent expenditures, working capital, land, commercial buildings and severance payments for institutional reforms.

Among the new lending tools and approaches now being offered by the Bank are performance-driven loans, conditional lines of credit for investment projects, programmatic policy-based loans and loans using the sectorwide approach.

The performance-driven loan is disbursed in tranches once its investment objectives, measured by outcome targets as the lending program progresses, are achieved and the Bank has verified the borrower’s expenditures to achieve the outcomes.  This instrument creates a stronger incentive for and managing for results during the design and implementation of the program, and it also opens the way to increasingly rely on country project management systems. The Bank has approved three performance-driven loans, all for health sector projects, in Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The conditional line of credit for investment projects carries the advantage of enabling the borrower to finance similar investments in a sector with a strong track record in quick succession, without having to pay a commitment fee for the unused portion of the credit line. The Bank has approved two conditional lines of credit to Brazil, one for $3 billion for a program to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, with an initial loan of $1 billion charged against the line of credit, and a second line for $100 million for road improvements in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, with an initial loan of $50 million.

A programmatic policy-based loan allows for phased support to a multiyear program of policy reforms and institutional change, with a clearly defined overarching objective, through the approval of a series of operations that are each disbursed in a single tranche.  This approach may be able to better capture the medium to long-term nature of many significant policy reform efforts while allowing for greater flexibility as the Bank engages in an ongoing policy dialogue with the borrower. The Bank has approved the first stage of three such operations.

The sectorwide approach enables the Bank to join with other donors and agencies to support a government-led program in a coordinated manner that is targeted to a specific sector. The different stakeholders share a joint review process, use common indicators to measure achievement and may share a pooled account and utilize national fiduciary procedures. The Bank has used the sectorwide approach in loans to Brazil and El Salvador, both in the social sectors.

The new lending model is designed not only to achieve greater flexibility, but it is also intended to achieve better development results through greater accountability, tighter evaluation systems and greater country focus. A goal is to enable borrowing countries to improve governance, build institutional capacity and gradually assume more responsibility for planning, procurement, resource management and evaluation.

Trade Finance Facilitation Program

The IDB’s Private Sector Department launched a $400 million Regional Trade Finance Facilitation Program during 2005 under a mandate from the Board of Executive Directors to adopt new short-term instruments to reactivate trade and financial flows in the region. Under the TFFP the IDB issues guarantees that support up to 90 percent of the exposure of private confirming banks that finance eligible trade transactions for tenors of up to three years.

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