A “New” World Bank

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 18, 2011    •    585 Views

What if you made a huge amount of money available for projects in Northern Africa and the Middle East? Let’s say you successfully expanded airport capacity in Cairo or raised incomes in rural Tunisian communities? The World Bank can claim these successes.

And yet, they are saying that their development mission has to involve more. In an NPR/Marketplace interview, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the World Bank’s challenge was to “connect citizen involvement with the development challenge.”

Adding specifics during this past weekend’s World Bank spring meetings, Mr. Zoellick named soaring food prices and joblessness in Northern Africa and the Middle East as primary concerns. Also, citing the “youth bulge,” that would require 40 million new jobs during the next 10 years, he expressed support for short-term job creation.

The Economic Lesson

Not really a bank, the World Bank is still a financial intermediary. Borrowing in world financial markets, it raises money. Then, it loans its funds to developing nations. Technically called the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), it was created in 1944.

You might want to look here to see a fascinating graph of the different national currencies that fund their projects.

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