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World Bank reforming to meet new challenges

Angie Gentile's picture

October 6, 2009 - Istanbul, Turkey. World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings 2009. Opening plenary session.

The World Bank is pursuing an ambitious program of reform to enable the institution to become more efficient and effective while also gaining more legitimacy among the developing countries that it serves, Bank President Robert Zoellick said today.

In a speech at the start of the World Bank-IMF annual meetings, Zoellick said the World Bank’s reforms would focus on improving development effectiveness, promoting accountability and good governance, and continuing to increase cost efficiency.

“To serve the changing global economy, the world needs agile, nimble, competent, and accountable institutions,” Zoellick told the meeting of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group. “The World Bank Group will improve its legitimacy, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability, and further expand its cooperation with the UN, the IMF, the other Multilateral Development Banks, donors, civil society, and foundations which have become increasingly important development actors.”

Bank Group receives support for more funds, expanded ‘voice’

Angie Gentile's picture

October 5, 2009 - World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings Istanbul, Turkey. Press Briefing. World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World BankThe joint World Bank-IMF advisory body, known as the Development Committee, committed to the G20’s call for more resources for the Bank to help developing countries respond to the global economic crisis.

Concluding its first day of talks on the Bank’s work and impact at the 2009 annual meetings, the committee expressed support for a general capital increase, a multibillion multilateral food trust fund, and a new crisis facility for the world’s 79 poorest countries.

The Development Committee also agreed to “voice” reform to ensure developing countries get a bigger say in how the institution is run—an increase of at least 3 percentage points in voting power, in addition to the 1.46 percent already agreed. This would give them a share next year of at least 47 percent.

In a statement issued Monday, the Development Committee set a definite decision point for shareholders for Spring 2010 on IBRD and IFC capital needs and “committed to ensure that the World Bank Group has sufficient resources to meet future development challenges.”

The committee noted the Bank’s “vigorous response” to the crisis, including a tripling of IBRD commitments to $33 billion this year and IDA reaching a historic level of $14 billion. They also said that IFC, which has invested $10.5 billion and mobilized an additional $4 billion through new initiatives, “combined strong innovation with effective resource mobilization.”

Chief Economist says financial crisis has 'left a scar'

Alison Schafer's picture

The global financial crisis may be easing, but it is far from over, according to the World Bank’s chief economist.  The World Bank is holding its annual meetings in Istanbul, Turkey, and those meetings prompted an assessment of the global economy from Justin Lin.

Lin is the World Bank’s chief economist, and he says the situation may be improving, but the financial crisis of 2008-2009 “has left a scar”.  He warns that it will be years before developing economies bounce back.

 

 

Lin, meeting with other leading economists at the Council of Chief Economists Roundtable in Turkey, reminded them that the world needs to be ready for the challenge of fixing the damage left by the crisis.

For example, Lin says, the residue from the financial crisis will be apparent for years, with unemployment high and consumption low. He says that India will bounce back with an 8 percent growth rate, but the country was roaring along at 10 percent before the crisis. Ethiopia, he says, will come back at 7 to five percent, and but it was showing what he called “high” rates of growth of 11 percent before last fall.

Developing countries will face majority of damage from climate change

Sameer Vasta's picture

October 4 2009 - World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. Istanbulm Turkey. Press Briefing World Development Report (WDR). Justin Lin World Bank Chief Economist & Senior VP Development Economics, H.E. Hakon Gulbrandsen, Norwegian State Secretary for International Development; Marianne Fay WDR Co-Director.

This year's World Bank World Development Report focuses on climate change and its effects on international development. The report emphasizes that developing countries are the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, and that a “climate-smart” world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently.

Yesterday at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul, climate change experts addressed some of the issues from the World Development Report. World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin, Norwegian State Secretary for International Development H.E. Hakon Gulbrandsen, and WDR Co-Director Marianne Fay spoke about the impact of the changing climate, re-iterating that developing countries will face 75 to 80 percent of the potential damage from global climate change.

 

 

To find out more, watch the full webcast of the press conference, or visit the WDR 2010 website. To learn more about the World Bank's work on the topic, visit the new Climate Change beta site or the climate change blog, Development in a Changing Climate.

The world is looking very different

James Bond's picture

MIGA Post-Crisis Panel

From now on, there will be need to be a more nuanced relationship between public and private sectors to sustain growth, and regional sources of growth will become more diversified.  These are two of the conclusions of MIGA's discussion panel on the post crisis outlook held on October 4 in Istanbul.

A panel of international experts, including the Colombian Minister of Finance Mr. Oscar Ivan Zuluage, MIGA's Executive Vice-President Izumi Kobayashi, and Nick Rouse, Managing Director of Frontier Markets Fund Managers, agreed on some aspects of the vision going forward, but had differing views on others. 

Taking on a more proactive, energetic role, public authorities worldwide have played a large role in limiting the downside of last year's financial crisis, they agreed. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the International Financial Institutions Initiative (in which MIGA participated) to support recapitalization of these countries' banks drew mention as one example of this type of successful multilateral intervention. 

Talking about the new ‘G’

Marwan Muasher's picture

 Potrait of men and children, Mali. Photo credit: World Bank

The other day Bob Zoellick, the Bank’s President, talked about a new “G.” The G-186, also known as the World Bank.

It’s good to see the G-20 assuming a more permanent structure and to note that their influence in the global financial architecture isn’t a blip in history to deal with the current economic crisis.

But at the same time, it’s very important to note that the G-20 doesn’t include the poorest countries. The G-186 brings the poorest voices to the table. And to really be part of the global recovery, which all countries must do for this to succeed, those countries hardest hit will need additional resources. Otherwise, we can forget full recovery.

Another essential ingredient of the recovery is to make sure we do not forget the human aspects of the crisis. We can’t look at recovery in purely numerical terms as the world did during East Asia’s financial meltdown in the late ‘90s. This has a punishing effect on employment, on lives. The world can’t fall into this trap again.

Natural resources: Africa VP calls for ‘creative dissatisfaction’ campaign

Derek Warren's picture

Mauritania mining corridor. Photo credit: World Bank Policy Note on Utility Service Reform in Mauritania's Mining Corridor. This was a lunchtime debate designed to induce a degree of indigestion!

Participants at an annual meetings session hosted by Africa Region VP Oby Ezekwisili faced the uncomfortable assertion that the majority of citizens in resource-rich African countries have seen little if any improvement as a result of decades of natural resource exploitation.

For some, oil or mineral wealth has proven a curse rather than a blessing, exposing them to economic instability, social conflict and lasting environmental damage.

To an audience including government ministers from DRC and Cameroon, Oby followed that up with a call for a campaign to generate a sense of ‘creative dissatisfaction’ – to provoke a demand for change in the way natural resources are exploited and the resultant benefits distributed.

Centre-piece of the debate was a new Natural Resource Charter, circulated in draft for consultation. Its intention is to aid governments and their citizens in resource-rich countries to use them to generate economic growth and promote the welfare of their population, without destroying their environment. It’s a blueprint for implementing the objectives of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Developing countries share their development knowledge

Alison Schafer's picture

October 4 2009 -World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. Istanbul, Turkey. Innovating Development the South South Opportunity with Ngzo Okono-Iweala, World Bank Managing Director. The Initiative celebrates it first year.

The World Bank’s South-South exchange is big on talk-talk.

But that is the whole point, and the South-South exchange has been so popular that the program is expanding.

The idea behind South-South is to get developing countries to share their knowledge and ideas about projects. The projects range from water power in Tajikistan, to keeping boys out of trouble in the Caribbean, to harnessing Indian expertise to train eight African countries how to offer IT services.

 

 

South-South has only been in existence for one year, but the World Bank Group’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala says it has already funded 35 grants — and, she says, there’s “a great deal of excitement” surrounding the program.

South-South relies on peer relationships, and Okonjo Iweala says it is clear that the group that makes up the World Bank’s initiative have much to share with each other.

This is a different Bank than it was in the ‘90s

Marwan Muasher's picture

Istanbul Kongre Merkezi or Istanbul Congress Center. Istanbul, Turkey. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank The skies have darkened with rain outside the Istanbul Congress Center, but spirits are high inside. The labyrinth of conference rooms is abuzz with government officials and civil society representatives, looking for pragmatic and innovative solutions to today’s most important development issues.

I personally think the CSO functions are going really well. I’m seeing a lot of collaboration, a lot of common ground, and even more so than in the past.

I think this is due to the Bank’s position as a voice for the poorest and our demonstrated commitment to providing the resources countries need to deal with the food and financial crises.

Africa’s infrastructure: closing the 'efficiency gap'

Angie Gentile's picture

Rural water pump near Ulundi, South Africa. Photo: Trevor Samson/World Bank African countries lag behind their developing country counterparts on infrastructure, and the gaps are only widening over time. One of today’s keynote panels took a deep look at ways to close that gap.

Instead of defaulting to a call for more money, panelists talked about what’s impeding effective use of funds, both public and private, that are made available for infrastructure development on the continent.

To put the conversation into context, here are a few key stats:

  • Africa needs $93 billion a year to catch up with its huge infrastructure backlog over the next decade—an amount that represents more than 35 percent of GDP for fragile states.
  • Current spending on African infrastructure is higher than previously thought, at $45 billion.
  • An estimated cost savings of $17 billion—the so-called “efficiency gap”—could be achieved if existing resources were used more efficiently.

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