Last week was a good week for the world's poor countries. It was also a good week for multilateralism and for Bob Zoellick, the World Bank's president. The rich country governments that support the International Development Association or IDA, the World Bank's concessional window, pledged a record $41.6 billion for IDA's 15th replenishment, a 30% increase over the 14th replenishment.
CGD Policy Blogs
Here are Donald Rumsfeld, James Wolfensohn and somebody else agreeing on something. Guess who recently said the following:
1. "But most (global) institutions are rickety relics of a sixty-year-old worldview, a product of the way the planet looked at the end of World War II or the dynamics that shaped it during the cold war era."
Good news! The IMF has finally moved forward on Liberian debt relief. Yesterday's IMF announcement that it has agreed on the necessary financing was a strong endorsement by the international community of Liberia's progress under its new government. It took more than a year of pushing and prodding, but Liberia now can formally begin the debt relief process.
Excuse me if I chuckle at the analogy between a 3-day meeting on malaria and Woodstock, or even the Oscars. I mean really, as one of my colleagues says, how could Woodstock measure up to malaria? There has been a certain amount of ceremony - starting with the stagey introductions that emanate from behind the tall curtains - and a rock-star build-up to the presence of Bill and Melinda Gates at the meeting this morning.
Robert Zoellick is off to a good start at the World Bank, as Sebastian Mallaby notes today in his Washington Post column. Bank staff are delighted with his policy pragmatism and World Bank boosterism—the view that the bank can be all things to all shareholders and stakeholders, continuing to do everything it has always done—but more so and better so.
Leaders create news as they stake out new territory, and they also create turbulence that can be harnessed by institutional reformers when conditions are right. The conditions were undoubtedly right at the World Bank in 1992.
One very good thing that can be said about Robert Zoellick's maiden speech as World Bank president today is that it was much better than the advance account in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) would have led listeners to expect.
"Vertical" health programs are once again unfashionable, subject to a blistering set of critiques from all manner of experts - some of whom were instrumental, just a few short years ago, in promoting them.