The World Bank has announced a shake-up of its guarantees business as it aims to triple issuance to US$20bn by the end of this decade.

Under changes set to go into effect on July 1, the Multilateral Guarantee Investment Agency (Miga) will become the home of a new platform which will act as a one-stop-shop for all guarantees provided by the World Bank.

“Currently, the World Bank Group offers 20 guarantee solutions spread across the institution.,” the multilateral lender says in a statement. “Each comes with different processes, rules, and standards. Ultimately, this holds back their potential and impedes client access.”

The reforms were designed following the creation of a private sector investment lab in June last year, to identify obstacles to investment in renewable energy. The lab’s participants singled out the availability of political risk insurance as a key issue, the bank says.

In addition to what the World Bank hopes will be a simpler experience for its clients, which are mainly financial institutions, it is also making changes to its internal structure and processes.

“We are streamlining to remove redundant processes, and also investing in a more accessible client experience by growing our guarantee teams and training staff worldwide, providing private sector and country clients with easy access to guarantees from anywhere in the world,” Miga’s director of operations Muhamet Bamba Fall tells GTR.

The new platform should allow guarantees to be deployed more efficiently alongside other World Bank products such as direct lending and International Financial Corporation (IFC) support, Fall adds, nominating energy transmission and water infrastructure as examples of the types of projects that could benefit from the structure.

The overhaul was welcomed by HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn, who says in a statement that reform “is critical to scaling up sustainable investment”.

“It will encourage reforms such as standardised contractual structures and provide more clarity about the roles that public and private sector organisations need to play to make projects viable,” he adds.

Miga guarantees are most frequently deployed to support commercial investments, project finance and trade finance in developing countries with high credit risk.

Recent examples include the renewal of a €349mn guarantee for a Standard Chartered-led trade finance loan to an African development bank, backing for short-term trade finance loans in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, and a risk-sharing agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help support trade finance in Ukraine.

Sim Tshabalala, the chief executive of Standard Bank, says in a statement that the Africa-focused lender “warmly welcomes” the new guarantee structure. “This is an important reform – World Bank guarantees are some of the most efficient ways to attract more private sector investment into Africa’s infrastructure.”

While the World Bank has a goal of issuing US$20bn worth of guarantees annually by 2030, the organisation’s president Ajay Banga has said the figure is designed to show ambition, rather than be an upper limit.

“So don’t think of this as a cap that is imposed by the bank,” Banga was quoted as saying by Reuters at a press conference in Brazil last week. “If you want to get to three times where we are today, the quicker we get there, the better we do it, the happier we’ll be, and the more ambitious we’ll be about the next step.”

“Our ambition is to go in quantum number from where we are today.”