Monday, July 09, 2007

Millennial Challenges: Changing World Bank Perspectives under new leadership!

Dear Patriotic Citizens of the Globe and Friends of Ethiopia:

Good Governance seems at last to comeby the World Bank. The new president is talking about key chllenges for the institution and its staff as they approach the challenges of all nations in the new millennium.

An international labor force of about 4 billion.

Globalization is creating many winners and lots of losers due to:

A parallel large savings pool.

Millennium Development Goal Progress is not looking good. Why we measure poverty reduction rather than progress towrds prosperity is the real question. Measure progress towards properity rather than reduction in proverty is perhaps the most crtical challenge of the Millennnium Develolpment Goals as it is organized so far. The Mid term report is rather poor by the UN's own evaluation.

Please read on the Good Governance Scale at the World Bank and the rest of the world. Would the new president bring change or is he on the same track of measuring poverty reduction instead of incresing opportunities for prosperity.

Please read on.

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

Today’s Headlines: Monday, July 09, 2007

Zoellick Backs World Bank's Role
Health Officials Lower Estimate of India's HIV Cases by Half
Banks' Anti-Money Laundering Costs Jump - Study
EU Says Wants "European Candidate" For IMF's Top Job
US, IFC Create Fund For Latin American Infrastructure
Briefly Noted

Zoellick Backs World Bank's Role

“The World Bank's new boss, Robert Zoellick, has told the BBC that the
organization still has a vital role.

Responding to suggestions in the US that its work should be taken over by
the private sector, he said many countries relied upon its expertise. He
said developing nations recognized the World Bank as ‘a neutral and very
important source of knowledge and expertise.’ … Zoellick told the BBC
World Service that a key reason why the World Bank remained vital was that
many African nations simply did not have access to private Western
capital. He said that where private money was available to African
countries, the World Bank could help deliver it.

Zoellick added that the World Bank was determined to ensure that concerns
over climate change would not divert its attention from Africa. ‘There is
real sensitivity on the part of African countries that the World Bank and
developing countries will, all of a sudden, [shift their focus] on the
concerns of basic growth and social conditions in Africa to [focus on]
that of climate change,’ he said. ‘In reality, the two need to be
interconnected […] as climate change also affects poor countries.’ …” [The
BBC (UK, 07/06)/Factiva]

Meanwhile, The Observer writes that new UK International Development
Secretary, Douglas Alexander “… will make his first foreign trip next
week … to meet new World Bank president Robert Zoellick…. ‘I will be keen
to impress on him the need to make sure that the Bank has effective aid
programs both in low and middle-income countries; secondly that it
recognizes that climate change is an emerging issue; and thirdly that the
Bank listens to the voices of developing countries,’ he says. …” [The
Observer (UK, 07/08)/Factiva]

Health Officials Lower Estimate of India's HIV Cases by Half

“India has only about 2.5 million people infected with HIV, less than half
of previous estimates, the Indian health minister and United Nations
health officials said [Friday]. As a result, instead of having an
estimated 5.7 million cases, the most in the world, India is now in third
place, behind South Africa, with 5.5 million, and Nigeria, with 2.9
million. …

The estimate was revised downward, the United Nations AIDS program,
UNAIDS, said, because of a national survey, including blood samples, of
more than 100,000 people taken in 2005 and 2006. Called the National
Family Health Survey III, it was paid for largely by the United States
Agency for International Development. … The new survey suggests that
India's epidemic is more like that in the United States, concentrated in
high-risk groups, rather than like the generalized epidemics in southern
Africa.” [The New York Times (07/07)/Factiva]

The Guardian writes that the survey, “… for the first time asked over
100,000 people about HIV. The survey was carried out by researchers who
went into homes in villages and towns and asked questions of everybody on
the premises that day. They also asked people to volunteer for blood tests
to detect malaria, vitamin C deficiencies and HIV. In the early days of
AIDS surveillance, only those who went to a health clinic feeling unwell
were counted. Then checks were made on women in antenatal clinics, where
blood tests could be done. This gave a good idea of the numbers of urban
women with HIV, but told the statisticians little about rural people and
particularly men.” [The Guardian (UK, 07/07)/Factiva]

AP reports that “…While the new HIV estimates were a result of statistical
breakthroughs more than medical ones, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss
said that India's HIV-infection rate showed cause for optimism with a
decline from about .38 percent of the population in 2002 to about .36
percent now. Most encouragingly, HIV rates in southern states, where the
disease was most prevalent, have stabilized or begun to decline, Ramadoss
said, crediting targeted interventions and education outreach programs.
The infection rate remains above one percent in several southern states,
including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, although it is less than one
percent in Tamil Nadu. Rates remain high among sex workers, their
customers, and men who have sex with men.” [The Associated Press

WP notes that “… The announcement of the new estimate coincided with the
launch of a five-year, $2.8 billion federal AIDS campaign to prevent the
spread of the virus in the country's large under-25 segment, which some
estimate at close to half of the population. It will include condom
promotion, education, and treatment and care of those with HIV. Charities
working with HIV prevention programs said there are no plans to reduce
funding. …” [The Washington Post (07/07)/Factiva]

Banks' Anti-Money Laundering Costs Jump - Study

“Spending by banks to combat money laundering has jumped almost 60 percent
in the last three years and tackling crime is taking up an increasing
amount of senior executives' time, according to a global survey.

Anti-money laundering costs have risen more than banks had predicted as
they face greater involvement in emerging markets and greater complexity
of financial markets, the survey by KPMG showed. Financial regulators are
attempting to clamp down on over $1 trillion estimated to be laundered
each year by drug dealers, arms traffickers and other criminals. KPMG
Forensic's survey of 224 banks in 55 countries showed their spending on
anti-money laundering (AML) systems and processes has risen by an average
of 58 percent over the last three years. …” [Reuters (07/08)/Factiva]

FT reports that “… The rise in the cost of anti-money laundering is in
excess of banks’ own predictions when KPMG Forensic carried out its last
study in 2004, when respondents on average predicted an increase of 43
percent. Despite sophisticated monitoring technology being available to
spot rogue transactions, 97 percent of banks said they were dependent on
the vigilance of staff to monitor and identify suspicious activity. The
study found that senior management were getting more involved in
anti-money laundering. However, there was significant concern among banks
that governmental and international regulation was inadequately targeted.
…” [The Financial Times (UK, 07/08)]

AP notes that “… Among the six regions surveyed, North American banks saw
the highest percentage cost increase, with costs rising 71 percent over
the last three years. The Middle East and Africa region was close behind
with a rise of 70 percent. Banks' compliance costs rose 58 percent in
Europe; 37 percent in Asia; 59 percent in Central and South America; and
60 percent in Russia. …” [The Associated Press (07/09)/Factiva]

WSJ writes that “… A big cost increase has come as banks comply with
stepped-up antimoney-laundering laws in the US, said Karen Briggs, a
global head of KPMG's antimoney-laundering division. … A big cost to banks
is the training of employees to recognize money laundering, a task that
Briggs called ‘very labor-intensive.’ Another cost is the computer systems
that monitor transactions. The study found that a big challenge is
monitoring an individual's transactions and accounts across multiple
countries. Adding to the challenges is the increase in cross-border bank
mergers. They can introduce the headaches of linking computer systems and
meeting new standards and laws where the combined bank operates.” [The
Wall Street Journal (07/09)/Factiva]

EU Says Wants "European Candidate" For IMF's Top Job

Dow Jones writes the EU Commission said Monday that “the next head of the
IMF should come from Europe. [In addition to Sarkozy’s push for
Strauss-Kahn], Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi and Finance Minister
Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa are considered candidates, though neither has
indicated an interest in the job. …” [Dow Jones (07/09)/Factiva]

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in a newspaper interview
published on Sunday that he wanted the respected, multilingual former
Socialist finance chief [Dominique Strauss-Kahn] to be the European
candidate to succeed Spain's Rodrigo Rato, who is stepping down in
October. Sarkozy said he had already put forward Strauss-Kahn's name to US
President George W. Bush and the leaders of Spain, Italy and Britain in
what some diplomats saw as a bid to seize the initiative before rival
European contenders emerged. …” [Reuters (07/09)/Factiva]

In a separate piece, Dow Jones adds that “Draghi said Monday that he has
no interest in being considered for the vacancy at the helm of the IMF in
Washington. … Italy hasn't designated an official candidate for the IMF
job, but in recent days several government officials have indicated they
would like to see an Italian in the job. An Italian has never held the
post and Italy doesn't have officials in top positions at other
international organizations. …” [Dow Jones (07/09)/Factiva]

AP reports that “A senior German official Monday … gave a positive
assessment of France's proposal of former Finance Minister Dominique
Strauss-Kahn. Thomas Mirow, a deputy finance minister, reiterated his
ministry's position that Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist being pushed by French
President Nicolas Sarkozy, would be an ‘excellent’ candidate. At the
weekend, ministry spokesman Torsten Albig said the German Cabinet would
make a decision when it next meets on Wednesday. ...” [The Associated
Press (07/09)/Factiva]

FT notes that “… Eurozone finance ministers are expected to discuss the
new candidate informally at a dinner on Monday in Brussels. The subject of
the IMF presidency is then formally on the agenda of a meeting on Tuesday
of all 27 finance ministers of the economic bloc. The IMF board was due to
meet this week in Washington, officials there said, at the prompting of
developing nations which want an end to a carve-up where Europeans head
the IMF with US support and an American leads the World Bank with Europe’s
blessing. …” [The Financial Times (UK, 07/08)]

AFP reports that “EU finance ministers are unlikely to decide at a meeting
on Tuesday on whom they want to head the IMF, a diplomat with the EU's
Portuguese presidency said Monday. …” [Agence France Presse

WSJ adds that “… The IMF managing director is selected by the executive
board, a group of 24 directors who are appointed by the Fund's member
countries and are responsible for running its day-to-day business.

…” [The Wall Street Journal (07/09)/Factiva]

US, IFC Create Fund For Latin American Infrastructure

“The US and the International Finance Corp. (IFC) have created a new
program to encourage more private investment in infrastructure in Latin
America, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Friday.

The program is similar to one Treasury announced last month to spur bank
lending to small businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean, and comes
just ahead of Paulson's visit next week to Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile. …

The US will contribute $4.6 million to the overall $17.5 million fund
managed by the IFC, the private investment division of the World Bank. In
addition to financing, the program's designers hope to get around the
obstacles to private investment in infrastructure, particularly inadequate
information. …” [Dow Jones (07/06)/Factiva]

AFX adds that the US “…Treasury said the purpose of the program is to free
up the flow of private investment in Latin America by identifying
investment projects, helping to structure these projects, and improving
the regulatory environment in Latin American countries. Treasury said
investors will reimburse the IFC program once a contract is closed, and
said the program could lead to as much as $1 billion in new investment in
Latin America. …” [AFX Asia (Hong Kong, 07/07)/Factiva]

Reuters reports that “… At a briefing for reporters, Treasury's acting
Under Secretary for International Affairs, Clay Lowery, said regional
‘debt levels are at much better levels, reserves are being built, credit
spreads are down, (but) there is still a lot of angst in the region (so we
need to see) what are the types of issues on which the US can provide
assistance.’ Lowery said Paulson will discuss efforts to revive Doha
free-trade talks over the course of meetings with Brazilian officials
including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but stressed he can do no
more than express support for Doha. …

Lowery noted it will be Paulson's fourth trip to the region since taking
over Treasury a year ago and said that was a measure of his interest in
helping Latin America increase its access to markets, capital and improved
services like education. …” [Reuters (07/06)/Factiva]

Briefly Noted

The World Bank will open a new regional office in the Cameroonian
administrative capital of Yaounde to interact with the Central African
Economic and Monetary la Community (CEMAC), APA learned Friday. Its new
approach with the community will seek to boost economic and social reforms
in the countries of the region, promote competence, foster the transparent
and efficient use of mining, oil and forestry resources for greater
efficiency in the fight against poverty, sources said. [Afrique en ligne
and APA (07/07)]

Zimbabwe has stepped up its campaign to arrest traders and businesspeople
accused of ignoring government demands to cut consumer prices. At least 17
people including the top executives of two large stock exchange-listed
food manufacturers and distributors, Innscor and Colcom, have been
detained. [The Financial Times (07/09)]

A spokesperson for the World Bank has described as “personal opinion” the
report of a Bank-appointed investigator that said defective HIV-testing
kits supplied by the Indian government were putting a large number of
Indians at risk. The Bank has said it has no evidence so far of fraud
involving the kits. [The Hindustan Times (07/07)]

Development secretaries from Portugal, Spain and Italy signed an agreement
Saturday in Alicante, Spain to join efforts to reach the Millennium
Development Goals. The first actions will focus on women in Africa and
various projects in Latin America. [El Pais (Spain, 07/07)/Factiva]

The Live Earth concerts have drawn to a close, with the curtain going down
in New Jersey in the US, after a finale performance from The Police. Rock
stars around the world performed to hundreds of thousands of music fans to
highlight climate change. Concerts were also held in Washington, Rio de
Janeiro, Johannesburg, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney. [The
BBC (07/08)]

The Japanese government has decided to propose introducing an “energy use
efficiency” index as a new international framework to tackle global
warming before next year's Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido,
government sources said Monday. Tokyo intends to try to persuade major
greenhouse gases emitters such as China, India and the US to participate
in the talks for introducing the index, measuring the proportion of energy
consumption to gross domestic product, before the world leaders' meeting
next year, the sources said. [Kyodo News (07/09)/Factiva]

The Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan and Brazil's statue of Christ the
Redeemer are among the modern day seven wonders of the world chosen in a
poll of 100 million online voters, organizers said on Saturday. The other
four are Peru's Machu Picchu, the mountain settlement that symbolizes the
Inca empire, Mexico's Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, the Colosseum in Rome
and the Taj Mahal in India. [Reuters (07/08)/Factiva]


Zoellick Talks About Bank’s Challenges

Robert B. Zoellick, the new President of the Bank, says a key challenge for the institution and its staff is to help all nations, particularly the poorest ones, share in the benefits of "sustainable globalization." Speaking on his first official day on the job, the 53-year-old veteran diplomat and international banker said globalization was being driven by "two huge developments since the end of the Cold War" - an international labor force that has grown from 1 billion to 4 billion workers and a parallel large savings pool. These two trends, Zoellick said, were creating many winners among nations, but leaving some, especially in Africa, lagging behind. Zoellick said developed countries "have a real interest in creating success" among the poorest nations. Read more...

See also interview of President Zoellick

Uneven Results Seen at Midpoint of Millennium Development Goals

At the midpoint to reaching the Millennium Development Goals for 2015, the world’s nations, particularly the poorest ones, have made substantial but uneven progress. In its annual report the United Nations focuses on the countries’ successes and setbacks. The MDGs are global targets agreed to by world leaders in 2000 to improve the lives of poor people. The report from the UN echoes findings released earlier this year in the Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2007, which found impressive gains in reducing poverty worldwide but much less progress in most of the other goals, including slowing climate change and other steps to protect the environment. Read more...


Youth in Africa's Labor Market

The authors of this publication examine the challenges facing Africa's youth in their transition from school to working life, and propose a policy framework for meeting these challenges. Topics covered include the effect of education on employment and income, broadening employment opportunities, and enhancing youth capabilities. The book includes a CD-ROM of case studies of four countries and household data on 13 countries. Read more...

FOR A FULL LIST of available publications:


The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

August 9 – Global - The annual observance of this International Day recognizes the achievements of the world’s indigenous people, who number more than 370 million and who live in some 70 countries. But it is also a moment to acknowledge the critical challenges they face. The UN says much remains to be done to alleviate the poverty faced by many indigenous people; to protect them against massive violations of human rights; and to safeguard against the discrimination that, for example, forces many indigenous girls to drop out of school. Read more...

Video Meeting – Societal Learning and Change

What factors lead to deep level change? Who in society is responsible for change, and what kind of collaboration makes change succeed? In this B-Span presentation sponsored by the World Bank Institute, author Steve Waddell discussed his latest book, Societal Learning and Change. Waddell provided one of the first comprehensive treatments of the motivations, processes, pitfalls, and possibilities for social change on the national and sub-national level. Read more...


Summary of proposed projects in all regions:


Public Works, Grants give Ethiopia Safety Net

Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program, started in 2005, is financed through multi-year, predictable resources, and represents a shift from a relief-oriented emergency system to a productive and development-oriented safety net. The program increasingly provides cash rather than food support. In 2005, the program reached 5 million chronically food insecure people in rural areas, expanding to 7.23 million people in 2006. In 2006 the program generated over 172 million days of public works with a focus on rehabilitation of severely degraded areas and creation of productive community assets in the food insecure areas in which the program operates. Read more...

Center for Development Progress Opens in Windhoek

The Namibian Development Information Center was launched in Windhoek. The new center is a partnership between the Bank and the Polytechnic of Namibia, which is hosting the center, as well as local and international development organizations. The center is aimed at enhancing knowledge and information sharing around development issues and challenges as well as consultation with all stakeholders through development dialogue. It offers a range of facilities and services that stimulate development thinking through access to the latest knowledge and information. Read more...


BENIN, GUINEA, MALI, NIGER, and NIGERIA: Niger Basin Water Resources Development and Sustainable Ecosystems Management Project - US$500 million to achieve a sustainable increase of the water resources productivity, boost hydropower generation and foster economic growth in the riparian countries. To create a collaborative framework to benefit the 110 million people living in the Basin, the project will first strengthen the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) as a critical governing structure managing the common goods and ensuring adequate coordination. Read more...

Press release

BURKINA FASO - Seventh Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC-7) - US$90 million to support the acceleration of real growth and the reduction of poverty incidence in Burkina Faso by: improving the investment climate and promoting exports; improving access to basic social services through deepened decentralization and strengthened institutional capacity; and promoting efficiency, transparency and accountability in the use of public resources through enhanced public financial management. Read more...

Press release

CAPE VERDE - Growth and Competitiveness Project - Supplemental Credit - US$3.0 million to support the implementation of the Cape Verde Growth and Competitiveness Project, which was approved by the Bank in May 2003. The US$11.5 million IDA Credit supports Government’s efforts to broaden the base of private participation in Cape Verde’s economic growth; enhance private sector competitiveness; as well as further develop its financial sector. Read more...

Press release

ETHIOPIA - Electricity Access Rural Expansion Project -- Phase II - US$130 million to bring grid, mini-grid and off-grid electricity access to 295 towns and villages and provide such services as lighting for schools and clinics, benefiting a total population of about 1.8 million. By providing reliable and affordable electricity to rural communities, the project potentially will enhance income-generating opportunities, improve health care and education, and boost agricultural productivity. Better and cleaner lighting will also have a positive impact on the operating hours of the schools and on the hours available for children to study at night. Public street lighting will improve the quality of life and the safety of the population living in the communities. Read more...

Press release

GHANA - Health Insurance Project - US$15 million to strengthen the financial and operational management of the national health insurance scheme by improving the policy adaptation and implementation capacity of the National Health Insurance Council in addressing ongoing core policy issues related to contribution collection, risk equalization, and provider payment mechanisms; and the purchasing function of the district mutual health insurance schemes, and the billing function of the providers. Read more...

GHANA - Nutrition and Malaria Control for Child Survival Project - US$25 million to improve utilization of selected community-based health and nutrition services for children under the age of two and pregnant women in selected districts. The specific objectives are to develop effective inter-sectoral coordination, ownership, and accountability for nutrition towards the establishment of a coherent national program; and to strengthen the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to effectively coordinate implementation of the community based health and nutrition program supported by the project. Read more...

Press release on both projects

TANZANIA - Health Sector Development Project - Phase II - US$60 million to assist the government of Tanzania in continuing to improve the quality of health services and the management of resources allocated to the health sector through strengthening health sector policy and strategy, and through building institutional capacity. The additional funds will support Tanzania’s Second Health Sector Strategic Plan for two years, 2007-2009. Read more...

Press release

For more regional information:


Thailand 10 Years after the Asian Economic Crisis

In the decade since the 1997 financial crisis, Thailand has become wealthier and has fewer poor people. The nation has become more integrated into the global economy while being less vulnerable to external economic shocks. However, Thailand now faces new challenges which stem in part from its recent success. The policies which sustained strong growth for more than four decades – raising Thailand from lower to middle income - and ensured recovery from the crisis will not be sufficient to continue that strong growth in future. Read more...

Erosion Threatens Thai Environment

Urban and industrial as well as tourism development has put Thailand’s marine and coastal resources at risk. To protect these resources, coastal economic development must be combined with a sustainable management of the natural resources, and constructive cooperation among key stakeholders must be developed, the Bank says in its latest report on Thailand’s environmental challenges. Exploitation of such resources, which have been crucial for economic growth during the past four decades, and coastal erosion have harmed the environment and affected livelihoods along the coastlines, reports the Thailand Environment Monitor. Read more...


INDONESIA - Better Education through Reformed Management and Universal Teacher Upgrading Project - US$86 million to improve the overall quality and performance of teachers through enhancing teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and pedagogical skills in the classroom. Read more...

Press release

VIETNAM - Hanoi Urban Transport Development Project - US$165 million
to increase urban mobility in targeted areas in Hanoi by increasing the use of public transport in two existing and one new corridor; and reducing travel times by all modes of transport between the city center and the west and northwest sections of the city (west of West Lake). Read more...

Press release

For more regional information:


Aging Population Challenge for Hungary

In the first 25 years of this century, Hungary is slated to lose 8 percent of its population. The proportion of the population over 65 years of age will increase by 40 percent by 2025, so that more than one in every five Hungarians will be over 65. If this dramatic aging is not managed effectively, it could knock Hungary off the path of converging with Western European economies and it could jeopardize plans to meet the requirements for joining the Euro zone. Read more...

Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: Lessons for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
This publication looks in-depth at public finance policies in ECA countries 15 years after the start of transition. The study aims to understand public finance policies and trends - including in the overall size of the public sector as well as specific patterns of taxation and public spending - across ECA. It explores how these policies and trends affect economic growth and benchmarks public finance policies and trends in ECA with those of other rapidly-growing emerging market countries. The report proposes structural reforms in areas where expenditure pressures are acute and explore ways to improve the efficiency and enhance the impact on employment and growth of tax systems in ECA. Read more...(PDF)

For more regional information:


IFC Promotes Sustainability in Brazil

The International Finance Corporation recently helped Brazil's São Paulo Stock Exchange—better known as BOVESPA, and by far the largest stock trading center in Latin America—launch a new index of publicly traded companies that have adopted world-class sustainability standards. The new BOVESPA Corporate Sustainability Index is part of a trend to integrate sustainability into lending and investment in emerging markets—a goal that IFC is promoting worldwide. A sustainability index serves two purposes: it informs potential investors about the sustainability of listed companies' operations, and in doing so it encourages listed companies to focus more on environmental, social, and corporate governance concerns. Read more...

For more regional information:


IFC Transactions Hit Billion Dollar Milestone

The International Finance Corporation announced new transactions that take its annual investments in the Middle East and North Africa to over the US$1 billion mark for the first time. To support private sector–led growth in the region, IFC is pursuing new investment opportunities and expanding advisory services to improve the business-enabling environment. With the recent announcements of a US$70 million loan to the Arabian Yemen Cement Company and a US$40 million loan and a 5 percent equity stake in Omar Effendi, Egypt’s recently privatized retail chain, IFC’s investments in the region reached US$1.2 billion in fiscal 2007. Read more...

For more regional information:


The Bank and HIV/AIDS in India

The Bank is helping India to curb the spread and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in the country. The government of India has embarked on the ambitious goal of halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2011, ahead of the 2015 target of the 6th Millennium Development Goal. Following the identification of the first case of HIV in Chennai in 1986, a small AIDS Cell was established in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In 1992, the government established the National AIDS Control Organization as an autonomous agency charged with the task of HIV prevention and control activities. Since that time, Bank projects have supported government efforts to develop and enhance its response to the epidemic and sustained commitment has yielded many benefits. Read more...

MIGA Supports Critical Telecommunications Investment in Afghanistan

The Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency is supporting a new investment that will provide state-of-the-art telecommunications services in Afghanistan. The guarantee, totaling US$76.5 million in coverage, will protect the investment against the noncommercial risks of transfer restriction, and expropriation. The Agency-backed project, totaling US$85 million, represents a third of total flows of foreign direct investment into the country from March 2006-2007, according to IMF estimates. This is the fourth investment guaranteed by the Agency in Afghanistan. Read more...

Improving Living Conditions for the Urban Poor in Bangladesh

The demand for workers and services in the growing industries of Dhaka has prompted large scale migration from rural areas for better opportunities. The migrants contribute to the city’s economic development by providing necessary labor to manufacturing and services. This has, however, also put pressure on the city’s infrastructure, public services and habitable land. This study reflects a comprehensive analysis of poverty in Dhaka focusing on understanding the characteristics and dynamics of poverty, issues of employment, land and housing, basic services, and crime and violence. This study aims to provide the basis for an urban poverty reduction strategy for the Government of Bangladesh, local authorities, donors, and NGOs. Read more...

More Girls in School in Pakistan

The provincial government's Punjab Education Sector Reform Program was launched in 2003 with the objective of improving access, quality and governance in the education sector, and has been supported by three IDA development sector policy credits. Reforms initially focused on increasing enrollments and retention, especially for girls, and in improving sector governance and monitoring. Enrollment in Grades 1 – 10 in public schools in Punjab has increased by 28 percent with approximately 2.5 million more students in three years (2003-2006). As a result, girls’ share of total public sector enrollments has increased from 43 percent to 46 percent. Read more...

Nepal Renewable Energy Project to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
More than 142,000 households in Nepal will get long-awaited access to electricity thanks to the implementation of the Nepal Micro Hydro Project for which an emission reductions purchase agreement was signed. This is the second greenhouse gas emission reduction project in Nepal, executed by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. This carbon offset project complements the Bank’s ongoing Power Development Project to provide increased access to electricity for people living in rural areas. It is anticipated that by 2011, 15,000 kW will have been installed. Read more...

Project Profile
Poverty Alleviation Fund in Pakistan.


BANGLADESH - Public Procurement Reform Project - US$23.6 million to support procurement reforms by improving procurement quality through better management and monitoring. It aims to strengthen procurement management at sectoral level, create a sustained program of developing skilled procurement professionals, and will introduce electronic government procurement in target agencies and the Central Procurement Technical Unit on a pilot basis. It is also designed to create greater awareness of a well functioning public procurement system by engaging civil society, think tanks, and the private sector. Read more...

Press release

For more regional information:


IFC Business Linkages

Supply-chain linkages improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SME) in emerging and transition economies. In linkage projects, the high credit risk of SMEs is mitigated by their business relationships - as suppliers or buyers—with one or more larger, financially strong companies. This allows financial intermediaries to extend loans to SMEs that would not qualify based on standard criteria for credit risk. Often, linkage projects are an important feature for the International Finance Corporation’s large investment projects in impoverished regions. These projects can have a profoundly positive development impact in frontier markets. IFC designs funding mechanisms for financial intermediaries and provide technical assistance to all parties involved. Read more...

Opening - IFC Global Transaction Team Program

Entry-level investment officers at IFC are recruited through the Global Transaction Team Program once a year. This is a two-year program typically consisting of two or three assignments of between nine and twelve months each. New investment officers are recruited globally through a rigorous and competitive process. The Program is designed for highly qualified and motivated professionals skilled in international corporate and/or project finance. Leadership potential is an important aspect of the recruitment and leadership development program. The Program provides formal training, on-the-job training, a mentoring and buddy program, and numerous other opportunities for professional and personal development. Read more...

For a full list of open positions and scholarships


Enterprise Surveys
This Private Sector Development site contains data on the investment climate in 97 countries, based on surveys of almost 60,000 firms. Enterprise surveys measure business perceptions of the investment climate, and can be used to analyze the link to job creation and productivity growth. Benin, Chile, Mauritius, and Morocco have been added to the Enterprise Surveys database. Read more…

In promoting foreign direct investment into developing countries, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency works in cooperation with other public and private organizations to mobilize insurance capacity, co-finance technical assistance programs, promote best practices and implement innovative solutions to client needs. The Agency partners with other insurance providers to increase the political risk insurance industry's capacity as a whole, and to encourage insurers into markets where they may not feel comfortable on their own. The Agency has signed Memoranda of Understanding with 39 partners from 31 countries. Read more...


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