In almost every meeting that I’ve been in over these last few days – be it with government officials, development partners or civil society – the words ‘results’, ‘accountability’, ‘openness’ and ‘effectiveness’ dominate. It’s not that the focus on results or accountability is new or unexpected, but I think each one of us has recognized the urgency to deliver and demonstrate results, in an open and transparent manner, and step back and assess what we’re doing and how it is helping our partner countries and the people who live there.
Several World Bank bloggers are writing on Africa this week, expanding on themes discussed at the Bank-IMF Annual Meetings. A few posts to note:
>World Bank Africa Region Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili says the Bank’s 2012 World Development Report on gender “constitutes an urgent call to action, especially for African policymakers and those of us who work on the world’s last development frontier.”
World Bank President Robert Zoellick this week urged civil society to help show how greater engagement on the ground brings about better development outcomes, particularly by improving governance and service.
Zoellick and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met with civil society organization (CSO) representatives in a town hall prior to the 2011 Annual Meetings. Some 600 CSOs—the largest number ever-- are participating in this year’s Civil Society Forum—four days of discussions to promote substantive dialogue between civil society representatives and Bank and Fund staff. Topics include climate change and energy, gender, aid dependency, and jobs as well as mechanisms for Bank-civil society engagement.
During a visit to Sierra Leone a few months ago, I was struck by the commitment that the government has shown to making changes in delivering basic services—such as education, health, and water—so as to try to reach and benefit poor people. But it was also clear to me that while the government must continue to make improvements in its existing programs, it cannot reach all citizens immediately—and this is true in many low-income countries in Africa, especially those recovering from conflict or civil war.
Experts from three countries that have undergone political and economic transitions had advice September 22 for Arab nations where citizens have taken to the streets demanding voice and participation.
One of the most important lessons: “Develop and nurture a culture of citizenship,” said Corazon Soliman, Philippines Secretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Showcasing the World Bank’s recently launched “Think Equal” campaign, the Nike Foundation yesterday unveiled an unusual visual message of equality and potential of girls at Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Artists from Brazil, Argentina, and Kenya created installations to display at the Bank, including a banner hanging outside the Bank’s main complex and a series of murals inside the atrium.
The art works champion what the foundation calls the Girl Effect movement. “If you invest in a girl you can stop poverty before it starts,” said Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel.
Developing countries should take steps now to prepare in the event of global economic turbulence, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a press conference on the eve of the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings.
While Zoellick said he believes a double-dip recession remains unlikely, he said recent economic indicators are eroding his confidence.
Despite progress, the world is still under-investing in gender equality, a panel of experts agreed at the World Bank’s September 21 Open Forum on Getting to Equal.
More girls are in school and women are living longer, but there is also a “mixed story” on gender equality, said World Bank President Robert Zoellick. While there is “huge potential” for more progress, significant changes are needed to achieve it, he said.
À l’échelle mondiale, malgré des avancées, l’investissement au profit de l’égalité des genres reste insuffisant. C’est ce qu’a reconnu, le 21 septembre, un panel d’experts lors de l’Open Forum – Hommes-femmes : parvenir à l’égalité organisé par la Banque mondiale.