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An end to poverty? WB’s new strategy unveiling at 2013 Fall Meetings : Page 4 of 4

Posted on 9 October 2013
thus more profitable, countries and sectors.
 
The next principle, on recognizing the diversity of WB clients, highlights its service to the private sector for which the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are taking the lead role. Strong criticisms are hounding the Bank on many areas of public goods where its response has been privatization, such as in water utilities and other social services, negatively impacting access and rights of the very poor it professes to benefit. Likewise, the principle of working as one WB Group has alarmed analysts following the Bank's work as this can mean the dominance of IFC's investor-friendly precepts and practices in the whole Bank operations.
 
As it positions itself as a “solutions” Bank, the WB promises to focus on development solutions by emphasizing “what works” and “how best to deliver it” as well as exercise dynamic selectivity. Such seemingly pragmatic approach does not bode well for much more meaningful human rights-based or social justice approaches. Clearly, the WB is striving to make itself useful and relevant not to the world's poorest but to the competitive markets and big players it has now openly admitted catering to.
 
It comes as no surprise that although the WB has existed for almost seven decades now, it has failed to promote genuine development and reduce poverty. The vast number of people trying to survive with less than $1.25 a day, and the even bigger number of the world’s population who barely subsist on daily incomes above this threshold of extreme poverty, illustrate the magnitude and complex forms of global poverty and the failure of business-as-usual approaches. And yet, as in the past, the WB remains a champion of private capital, pushing for limitless growth in an ever-polarized world of haves and have-nots and exacerbating economic, social, political and other inequalities.

 

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