Chapter 17: Religion in the policy domains of international financial institutions
This chapter considers the issue of religion and development via the growing relations between religious groups and international financial institutions (IFIs). A specific focus will be to analyse the engagement with faith institutions and communities by the World Bank, arguably the most influential IFI in world politics. Specifically, the chapter will examine four issues. First, on the issue of method, a rationale is offered for why religion is an important focus in development theory and practice, and by extension, why placing religion at the forefront of the analysis offers unique insights into development discourse. Second, on the issue of development institutions, this approach is modelled by understanding the central policy platforms of the World Bank through the terms of religion previously established. Third, on the issue of policy, we examine the multiple and varying influences that allowed religion to enter the discourse and domain of World Bank activity in the 1980s and 1990s. Fourth, on the implications of these events going forward, strengths and limitations of the World Bank’s faith engagement to date are considered.
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