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At its founding, a primary function of World Bank was to help developing countries develop the energy, transport and water infrastructure essential for economic development. Half a century later, as the World Bank Country Director for Brazil I saw the products of this – the World Bank funded one major hydropower plant in each of the first ten years that the Bank operated in Brazil, thus helping Brazil build a low-cost energy platform for economic growth in Brazil for the next 50 years.
China has had a stellar growth performance over the past two decades, growing at record rates of around 10 percent. But high growth has come along with a series on imbalances, notably overinvestment in the real estate sector and huge increase in domestic credit, all of which has caused China’s growth projections to moderate.
The long-anticipated rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP series was finally made public on Sunday April 6, and the general media reaction has been cautiously celebratory. But the reaction has largely missed one big point: the rebasing establishes that the biggest economy in Africa has the lowest tax revenues of almost any country in the world.
Yesterday in a blog about the World Bank and open contracting, I mentioned the bank had put out more data on contracts that it finances. The covered contracts are those that were large enough for World Bank procurement procedures to mandate “prior review” by bank staff before they were awarded, a designation that covers the considerable majority of bank-financed contract value.