Right now, the bank’s operations are organized largely fund by fund, country by country and region by region. “When we asked technical people how much time they spent supporting other regions, the answer was less than 1 percent,” Dr. Kim said.
He also said there were capital cities where two arms of the broader World Bank group had been working in different offices and barely had any contact. “There really was a sense that these two institutions worked separately,” he said.
The proposal would organize the bank around 14 “global practices,” cutting across the bank’s different projects and funds. Those practices would include agriculture, education, energy and extractives, health and nutrition, and trade and competitiveness.
Many development experts have applauded the changes, at least in theory. “The concept is terrific, as is the emphasis on the bank’s comparative advantage as being a knowledge institution,” said Nancy Birdsall, the president of the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based research organization.