Think the World Bank is useless…think again my friends

Shaaz Nasir

World Bank

“beware of the scary and evil place…no”

Although the responsibility of ensuring high living standards for citizens lie with the state, financial institutions can play a positive role in her assistance.  Many people have insisted that the World Bank is evil or can do absolutely nothing in terms of development. Some even argue that the World Bank is a direct threat to sovereignty of all nations and should be shutdown.

I disagree.

Indeed the World Bank has many opportunities to improve itself, but to label the institution as evil, redundant, and useless is simply not accurate.  Regarding the threat to sovereignty, if the World Bank seeks to increase the living standards of a nation’s citizen, through improvements in productivity and efficiency, it’s only strengthening the nation.

People bring up the dependant argument, which can be summed up as “the country will be dependant on the World Bank to succeed”. Far too many flaws render this argument useless; if someone is lending money, you would hope the borrower would work with the lender. Teamwork is not a bad thing. Oh God forbid, actual communication between the two parties involve in a financial transaction.

No one can legitimately argue that it’s better to remain a poor but “autonomous” state, than a robust and active country. International trade, open economies, working with international organizations is not being dependant, it’s reality.

Again I stress that the World Bank is not perfect and as they need to work on their own efficiency in terms of people management and  financial resources.

Let’s take a look at an actual project the World Bank has been working on with Bangladesh.

Female Secondary School Assistance Project

The project will support a major increase in secondary school enrollment of girls in about a quarter of the country by providing stipends for 1.5 million girl-years of secondary education, financing the cost of additional teachers required by the growth in female enrollment, supporting an occupational skills development program for school-leaving girls, assisting with a female education awareness program, providing a school-based water supply and sanitation program, and financing an institutional development program for implementation and capacity-building support to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) in the Ministry of Education.

That was the longest run-on sentence I have ever read.

I will showcase this project in the next post.

Check the blog tomorrow!