2024 HIPSO Annual Meeting | 4-5 June, British International Investment (BII), London

About us


Since 2008, a forum of senior staff from both multilateral and bilateral development institutions have met to help foster collaboration among IFIs to enhance development impact through common development indicators. The Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations are the first tangible result of this partnership.


The Harmonized Indicators MoU reflects the commitment of 25 IFIs toward long-term collaboration and, most importantly, a focus on better serving their clients.

Efficient data monitoring

The MoU sets out 27 reporting indicators for IFIs’ shared clients, down from some 400 initially reviewed. This helps reduce clients' reporting costs and frees up time for them to focus on what matters most: delivering results on the ground.

Data for development

Thanks to these new indicators IFIs are now able to look at projects across institutions with a set of common metrics, which increases their ability to learn from each what works and what doesn’t, thus contributing to better direct resources for development.


The broad range of structures, mandates and shareholders of IFIs working with the private sector means that there are many different systems used to track development results. The shared clients of these IFIs therefore often endure an unintended burden deriving from the IFIs’ different reporting requirements, including similar indicators (with different definitions) meant to capture the same data.

Efforts to mitigate this burden began in 2008, and progress accelerated 4 years later when over 20 IFIs formed a Working Group on Indicator Harmonization that agreed to benchmark indicators for private sector investment operations and seek examples of best practice for shared adoption. Over 400 indicators used by the IFIs involved in the effort were reviewed while the Working Group grew to include 25 IFIs.

A first set of 27 indicators was agreed in the form of an MoU, signed in October 2013. It mandates that (I) if an IFI tracks development results, it will use the harmonized definitions and units of measurement; and (ii) if it has a results tracking system in place that already features indicators that are the same as the harmonized ones, it will replace them accordingly. There is no obligation, however, to start tracking and using the harmonized indicators if an IFI does not wish to track the development outcomes they capture.


Many IFIs share the same clients or invest in the same industries, yet require clients to report their activities based on different sets of criteria.

The Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations standardize these criteria and reduce the administrative burden of shared clients, allowing them to focus on what matters most: delivering results on the ground.


Many private sector entities receive financing from multiple IFIs. As a result, they are often required to report on their activities multiple times, but with different criteria that depends on the reporting requirements of each IFI involved.

These clients carry an added administrative burden that can be reduced by harmonizing the definitions of at least some of these indicators.


Shared standard indicators will provide development institutions with an aggregate data set to help facilitate collaboration and learning among development practitioners and institutions, and help IFIs to better understand the impact of their investments.


The harmonized indicators initiative yielded a memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed in October 2013 in Washington, D.C., during the Private Sector Round table that takes place annually at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings, and an Addendum to the MoU, signed in the fall 2015.

The MoU, as amended by the Addendum, harmonizes the definitions of 38 indicators for private sector operations.



  • Comprises the 25 IFIs that signed the harmonization MoU. Discusses and decides on all issues relevant to our group.
  • Additional IFIs can potentially become members by signing the MoU.
  • Group activities are facilitated by the OneDrive collaboration folder.


  • Comprise other (non-IFI) entities (e.g., standard setters, NGOs) that have relevant expertise to contribute to the discussions and activities of the Whole Group and that have successfully petitioned to become observers.
  • Observers may provide input to discussions and activities taking place within the Whole Group, but have no voting power and cannot become members of the Steering Group.


  • Comprises 4 to 6 members, elected from the Whole Group for a 2-year term; to ensure representation, it always includes at least 2 bilaterals and 2 multilaterals.
  • Provide overall guidance on the work program and priorities.


  • Comprise entities (e.g. clients, other private companies) that use the harmonized indicators to track their development results and that have registered in the website as users.
  • Indicator users do not provide input to the activities of the Whole Group. Through registering in the website as users, they are recognized as such for the benefit of increasing their reporting credibility and may receive relevant communications and updates from the Whole Group.

Decisions are made by consensus, and we resort to supermajority vote only in specific cases when consensus cannot be reached.