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Not for the first time, the World Bank has reminded me of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, the hit TV show where judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern rate amateur singers, jugglers, and comedians.
World Bank presidents have often defined their success in part via ever-larger replenishments for IDA, the Bank’s soft loan window. But at his first ever Bank-Fund annual meetings this weekend in Tokyo, Jim Yong Kim should explain to the gathered illuminati why this is no longer an appropriate metric.
The Future of IDA
After 52 years, IDA is facing a watershed moment. Drastic changes in both the supply and demand for the World Bank’s cheap long-term loans to governments of poor countries requires rethinking IDA’s purpose, tools, and broad role. In Tokyo, Kim should be sure that shareholders understand that the future of IDA depends, not on its size, but on adapting its mandate and business model to certain new realities:
I had the pleasure of visiting Ghana again this month to discuss the possible implications for the country of its new middle income status, the result of rapid growth and (a rather significant 63%!) statistical adjustment. In particular, I was there to talk about Ghana’s looming graduation from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) window. This is crucial for Ghana, since IDA i
Rapid changes in the world, especially the remarkable growth of so many once-poor countries and the revolutions sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, will have tremendous consequences for institutions like the World Bank. The Bank-Fund Spring Meetings start next week and it’s a chance for shareholders and Bank management to check-in and throw issues on the table. Among the many big trends and questions about the future of the Bank, here are a few on my mind:
Fast forward to the year 2025. IDA will begin negotiating its 21st Replenishment Agreement. As with every other replenishment since 1960, donor countries will sit around a table and haggle over what sectors to promote, how to measure IDA’s impact, and how to allocate its resources. And, they will be fiercely negotiating how much money to put in IDA’s
This post originally appeared on devpolicy.org and devex and is based loosely on a February 10th talk at the Development Policy Center at Australian National University’s Crawford School and a March 1st speech at The International Development Research Centre in Ottawa..
The maxim that armies are always fighting the last war might just as aptly apply to development agencies: they are too often tackling yesterday’s problems with an outdated set of tools. If our development policies and agencies are to serve our interests, then we need them to both live in the present and prepare for the future. So, what then might development policy look like, say, a decade from now? What should we be thinking about now to get ready? Here are three big trends I think will be shaping the development future:
That’s right. Ghana announced today that its GDP isn’t actually $15.7 billion, but rather $25.6 billion. This sudden 63% jump occurred not because of a sudden oil find (the oil doesn’t arrive until next month), but rather because of a technical rebasing of the way GDP is calculated. Turns out that services like telecoms are a lot bigger than everyone believed yesterday. Here are a few of my quick reactions: