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Scoring the Bank’s progress: Are we satisfied?

Joachim von Amsberg's picture

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.Transparency is what our Corporate Scorecard* and its companion, the Results Report, try to present.

The Corporate Scorecard, a self-assessment, is really an accountability tool designed to provide a snapshot of the World Bank’s overall performance, including its business modernization, in the context of helping our client countries achieve development results. Are we satisfied? Where do we need to do more? 

The numbers in the Results Report are a reflection of partnerships with countries that have produced results.  Like other Bank staff, I have been fortunate to contribute in a modest way to successes achieved by countries.

When I was Lead Economist for Brazil, we contributed to the design of project such as ‘Bolsa Familia’.  In Indonesia, I have seen how the Government’s BOS-KITA (School Operational Assistance – Knowledge Improvement for Transparency and Accountability) program to strengthen school-based management led to improved quality of education spending and education outcome. 

So what do the numbers tell us? They tell us we’re doing well in many areas, countries are making progress and a very large share of Bank-supported operations are achieving their objectives and making a difference in people’s lives.

In Afghanistan for example, there has been a 22% reduction in infant mortality and 26% reduction in child mortality in just three years; in Burkina Faso, 94% of Ouagadougou’s population—1,480,000 people—now have access to safe water. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the Bank Treasury advised about 40 countries on public debt management to help build sustainable, high-performing institutions. For example, Albania, Georgia, Jamaica, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, and Sierra Leone received support for new public debt laws.

Can we do better? Yes! We are trying to raise our focus on building effective institutions at the country level, for they are critical for the overall development effectiveness of the country.  But, we’re recognizing that it is extremely challenging and difficult to do so.  The other areas, which the Scorecard points out for improvement are more internal – including the connection of knowledge between different parts of the Bank – but equally important for bringing lasting change in the institution.

Related
Corporate Scorecard
Results Report
Bank Results Website

*The scorecard establishes a baseline value and year against which progress can be measured. It will be published annually.

Comments

Submitted by james martone on
Joachim, thanks for this. You ask if the Bank can be doing better, and mention Brazil. Indeed, I think it is. On a recent video mission there, we visited three settlements, where almost every family we met was meeting basic needs thru Bolsa Familia which conditions the credits on sending kids to school. But now under a new Bank-supported poverty reduction project, many families are increasing these meager incomes through small organic farms. See their story: http://www.youtube.com/WorldBank#p/c/D031D1EA711D09B4/47/PPo-k8VsYj4

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