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The World Bank reaches a crossroads (World Finance)

July 19, 2019

From the article:

In his first interview as the new president of the World Bank, David Malpass tried to strike a conciliatory tone, alleviating concerns over his previously polemical attitude. And yet, he couldn’t resist making remarks that in different times would cause uproar. He told CNBC: “There are challenges facing the world in terms of how you have transparent projects that are high quality [and] where the debt is transparent. China moved so fast that in some parts of the world, there is just too much debt.”

Ironically enough, the arrangement contradicts the bank’s own calls for good governance, representation and diversity in the developing world. In 2018, the bank launched its $12m Open Governance Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund, aiming “to increase government transparency, improve accountability, and strengthen citizen engagement as well as government responsiveness”. Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the US think tank Centre for Global Development, said: “Nobody can think it was a sign of progress that the US candidate for World Bank president had no challengers. This was largely a failure on the part of European governments, who made it clear enough that they weren’t interested in a competitive election at the World Bank – both because they didn’t want to directly challenge an unpredictable and belligerent White House, but also because they continue to want to protect their ability to pick the IMF managing director.”

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Senior Fellow, Director of the US Development Policy Initiative