Congressional Testimony: The World Bank’s Disclosure Policy Review and the Role of Democratic Participatory Processes in Achieving Successful Development Outcomes

December 22, 2009

CGD senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services about the World Bank’s disclosure policy. Ramachandran urges policymakers to base future capital increases to all of the MDBs on their progress on project evaluation and product innovation.

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From Ramachandran’s Testimony:

What can be done to improve accountability and the delivery of services to the poor? I propose two solutions—better evaluation of development outcomes and diversification of the product mix away from lending.

Monitoring of inputs is not anywhere near as useful as measuring outcomes. Funds provided by the World Bank and others to poor countries are best used if they are linked to successful development outcomes. Evaluation by a third party of development projects, with a focus on the beneficiaries, is of much greater use to both the Bank and its member countries than any effort to increase the ex post flow of information on financial inputs into development projects.

Pressure on the future bottom line, exerted in a timely manner, might help the leadership of the World Bank and other MDBs to overcome the entrenched culture of lending.

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