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New WBG Academy: Building a cadre of development leaders and practitioners

New WBG Academy: Building a cadre of development leaders and practitioners Photo credit: TippaPatt, Shutterstock

Like any milestone birthday, the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions, which include the World Bank and its sister organization the International Monetary Fund (IMF), offers an opportunity to reflect on how much the world has changed since these two institutions were created in 1944—and how much the institutions have evolved to meet those changes.

Over the last eight decades, the world has transformed itself radically with an unprecedented reduction in poverty and improvement in the lives of billions of people. At the same time, many challenges, ranging from fragility and violence, widespread famine, climate-related impacts, and a pandemic, have confronted countries and reversed years of progress.

These opportunities and challenges require the World Bank Group to constantly adjust, adapt and change. This mindset is continuing today.

One example of that evolution is our work to renew our approach to knowledge. As part of this, we are launching the World Bank Group (WBG) Academy. The WBG Academy is a new global knowledge platform that seeks enhanced engagement among World Bank staff, development practitioners, government officials, think tanks and other partners, to learn from our experiences, share knowledge and discuss options to difficult development challenges. A unified platform for institutions that make up the World Bank Group—the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency—the Academy is part of our broader efforts to transform our approach to knowledge to better identify the solutions needed to meet today’s top concerns. It is also a direct response to clients’ calls for us to make capacity development a core service, along with financing and analytics.

Research and experience have shown that a lack of client capacity can be nearly as much of a constraint as inadequate financing when it comes to achieving development objectives. Battling multiple crises, our clients are asking for help in designing and implementing policies, reforms, and development programs to address a broad spectrum of issues: climate change, digital development, energy access and transition, food security, fragility, jobs, pandemic prevention, and preparedness, and much more. The Academy builds on the World Bank Group’s 80 years of experience and capitalizes on its ready access to knowledge and expertise from around the world. Today’s global challenges require an innovative approach, one that uses the world’s best development knowledge to help craft the best workable solutions.

The First Set of WBG Academy Programs

The Academy launches in multiple locations this month with an initial series of 17 programs targeting policy makers, government officials, and development practitioners. This rollout will continue throughout 2024, and we will follow up with an expanded program starting next year.  All programs are grounded in analytical work coming out of the World Bank’s research department and the knowledge verticals – People, Planet, Prosperity, Infrastructure, and Digital – as well as capturing knowledge from the private sector arms of the World Bank Group.

The Academy programs seek to put our engagement at a new level, working directly across the globe and ensuring that the latest insights on development—at a global, regional, and country levels—can be readily shared and integrated into World Bank Group operations.

This engagement will be delivered in a variety of formats, from global seminars and workshops to peer-to-peer events, and through facilitating practical e-learning courses and new courses on emerging topics. Our goal is for the WBG Academy to help sharpen the focus and approaches towards achieving development outcomes, as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals, and in a quicker and more impactful way.

The Academy is about continuous learning, continuous adjustment, and continuously seeking the best development outcomes. The World Bank Group is giving a renewed focus to our 80-year learning tradition and elevating knowledge to 21st century learning and exchange, tapping into the latest technology and using new methodologies to maximize reach and scale. The Academy will boost countries’ abilities to carry out effective development policies, help countries achieve their development ambitions, and build a better future for their people.

Learn more about the Academy here, and about our work in transforming as a Knowledge Bank.

Axel van Trotsenburg

World Bank Senior Managing Director

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