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Annual Report 2009 distributed at the Annual Meetings

Can Kevenk's picture

2009 Annual ReportWe started distribution of the World Bank Annual Report 2009 this morning at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul. The free publication, outlining the Bank's activities in fiscal year 2008, is available for journalists, government officials, civil society organizations, academic and public libraries — and anyone else interested in learning more about the Bank and what it does.

The report summarizes the Bank Group’s commitments and approved projects during the recently completed fiscal year, and also includes a CD with complete financial information and a slideshow summarizing the regional, sectoral, and thematical categorization of funding.

I had a chance to work with the team that was preparing the Annual Report this year. Our goal was to put together a colorful and easy-to-read summary of the Bank’s development activities for everyone who is interested. Photos from the project sites and personal stories about recent Bank Group projects from all around the world are featured in this year’s report. All six of the Bank’s regions are presented with a regional snapshot as well as the summaries of funding operations taking place.

This year, the Annual Report 2009 website has been enhanced in terms of design, online content, and interactivity. The site includes interesting videos about recent projects taking place in the field. The PDF version of the Annual Report is downloadable in 8 different languages from the website. You can also view the whole ‘Year in Review’ with our interactive widget.

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.

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.

Remittances a huge issue for small states

Alison Schafer's picture

Jeffrey S Gutman, Vice President, OPCS, World BankSize does matter.

But it matters far more when you are one of the World Bank’s 40 member countries with populations under 1.5 million.  These developing small states gathered together at the Bank’s annual meetings in Istanbul at the annual Small States Forum to show that, when they all agree, small can be powerful.

The World Bank’s small states, ranging from Suriname in South America, to Swaziland in Africa, to Vanuatu in the Pacific, met in a standing-room-only venue packed with attendees.  The topic on the table was remittances, the huge cash flows sent home by economic migrants working in other countries.

Almost $4.5 billion in remittances poured into small states last year, dwarfing all financial aid packages. In some countries, remittances are greater than one-fifth of GDP. Of the world’s seven most remittance-dependent countries, four are small states: Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific, Lesotho in Africa and Guyana in South America. Overall, on average, remittances matter substantially more for small states than for their large larger developing counterparts. And the worry is that remittances are drying up in the face of the global financial crunch—with a projected decline of 9 percent this year, according to the presentation by the World Bank’s Chief Economist, Justin Lin.

 

Cape Verde’s Minister of Finance, Cristina Duarte, says remittances are a huge issue for her country, and one she eagerly discussed with her fellow small state colleagues. "We concentrated a lot on analyzing and discussing the role of remittances—how can we manage better remittances, which are an important capitals inflow for our country." The bottom-line according to Duarte: no single country can survive on its own.

Interactive timeline highlights key financial crisis events

Sameer Vasta's picture

The World Bank Financial Crisis page now features an interactive financial crisis timeline that lets you see major events that have occurred during the crisis, as well Bank stories, reports, videos and photos that are related to the crisis.

Financial Crisis Timeline Screenshot

Also on the Financial Crisis page: videos from World Bank experts on the crisis, feature stories about the impact of the crisis, and a brief overview of the financial crisis and the Bank's work.

Fragile States should not be forgotten while dealing with the international crisis

William Byrd's picture

Fragile States Panel. Photo: Geetanjali Chopra

Yesterday an exciting panel of committed global experts and international leaders spoke compellingly about the extreme problems faced by countries affected by fragility and conflict, and what can be done. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Managing Director of the World Bank) asked probing questions to the panel of Paul Collier (The Bottom Billion, and Wars, Guns and Votes), Donald Kaberuka (President of the African Development Bank, former Finance Minister of Rwanda), and George Soros (Open Society Institute, Soros Foundation).

 
I will write a more systematic summary paper later; here I am just trying to capture some memorable points that struck me from the lively discussion and debate.

Fragile States Panel. Photo: Geetanjali ChopraOn the one hand a sense of optimism, that the problems of fragile states can be addressed, the world is much more aware of these problems, and fragility is not a permanent condition, although it will require much more money and greater accountability, as well as strong leadership in the countries themselves.

On the other hand the recognition that helping countries move out of fragility and conflict is a long-term and thankless task, the dynamics of these countries often put them in a downward spiral, and it is essential to take advantage of windows of opportunity when they arise – whether at the end of a conflict or when there is political change (because once the windows are gone they are gone), and then have staying power. Deterioration can occur quickly, whereas rebuilding takes years and decades. Important not to lose hope.

Don’t bypass the state but rather use aid to help these countries build institutions, was a key message of the seminar.

More money for fragile and conflict affected countries (although it is tiny in relation to what has been spent on the global financial and economic crisis) needs to be accompanied by greater accountability. There are promising ideas, some of which have begun to be put into practice, that need to be scaled up and taken farther.

InterAction's Sam Worthington chats about the World Bank and civil society

Sameer Vasta's picture

This morning I had the chance to chat with Sam Worthington, the President and CEO of InterAction, who is attending the Civil Society Forum here in Istanbul. Sam took some time between the sessions of the CSO Forum to tell me a little about InterAction, the work that they are doing with the World Bank, and what he hopes to come out of the Annual Meetings in Turkey this year.

You can watch the entire 5-minute chat below:

 

 

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