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Increasingly, development money is being channelled through third parties such as banks or private equity funds. The world’s leading proponent of this financing model, the International Finance Corporation, spent $36bn this way in just the four years leading up to June 2013. But what does this ‘hands-off’ form of development financing mean for people? Are the risks to communities and their livelihoods just too high given the weaker social and environmental protections entailed? This report tells the human story behind the high finance and statistics, and asks whether reforms to this model of lending have gone far enough to protect communities.

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