Published on Let's Talk Development

Keeping score

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When we think of scorecards, we think of football or other sports where we want to keep track of how our favorite players and teams are doing. We at the World Bank are also a team – a team battling a very tough opponent; in fact, two opponents: poverty and inequality. While this not a “game” by any means – the stakes are high as the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world are on the line – we also want to keep track of how we’re doing.


As a former Country Director, and in my travels before and since, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many, many people whose lives have changed thanks to the support we’re lending to countries. There’s the farmer in Malawi who now has access to a rural road and can take his produce to market; the single mother in Bolivia who is making a living now thanks to her small sewing business; and the young girl in Myanmar that now has access to school and a brighter future. I’ve seen their faces, I’ve heard their stories first-hand, and I’ve witnessed the impact we make through our efforts.
It can be difficult to convey that feeling and communicate those results on a larger scale. Translating the big picture and adding up the work we do, in a format that is easy to comprehend and understand – like a score card for your favorite sports team – has proven to be a big challenge.
But that’s exactly what we’re doing now with our new digital Corporate Scorecard. It tells us whether we’re headed in the right direction. And it provides a quick and easy way to see and understand the World Bank’s “scores”. These are the results and performance indicators of the work we do day in and day out to eliminate poverty and promote shared prosperity. A snapshot of what’s happening on a global, local, and institutional level is now right at your fingertips.
The Scorecard is all about showing progress and what works, and taking all those stories together to see how they add up. It's also a way for us to be transparent for our 189 member countries and their citizens, whether they help finance the work we do or benefit from our financing and other support.
So, how does it work? The Corporate Scorecard measures achievements in three core areas: long-term development outcomes; results in countries; and operational and organizational effectiveness. It is also connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. Together, they show how far we’ve come and what’s left to do.  All the issues which require our urgent attention – from primary school completion rates to C02 emissions to access to improved sanitation – are included.
With the Scorecard, users can easily access key data, including where we started from (baselines), what we’ve achieved (progress) and what we plan to achieve (targets). It also includes additional resources for more than 70 indicators to allow users to do ‘deep dives’ into any single indicator and the challenges it represents.  The Scorecard is easy and fun to read with colorful displays and easy-to-understand infographics.
The Scorecard tells a story about impact. Like any challenge, our work at the World Bank Group – eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity – are among the most formidable and difficult to achieve.
It requires great effort, strong performance, teamwork, and close tracking. And when done well, it changes lives for the better. I invite you to take a sneak peek at this effort by exploring the digital Corporate Scorecard and sharing your views. 


Hartwig Schafer

Former Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank

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