World Bank president wants aid tied to honesty in government
October 13, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
Canadian consulting engineering firms are heavily involved in international projects, and in the past have done man...
Canadian consulting engineering firms are heavily involved in international projects, and in the past have done many projects funded by the World Bank.
In recent years, Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, has argued that the bank should wield its financial clout to ensure that countries receiving aid funds for projects undertake reforms to deal with bribery and corruption among their officials.
His efforts to link the funding of aid to government reforms sparked debate at an annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Singapore
Following are Wolfowitz’s remarks in his speech to that assembly:
“Throughout the world and importantly in the developing world, there is a growing recognition that the path to prosperity must be built on a solid foundation of good governance. ‘Without governance, all other reforms will have limited impact.’ Those are not my words. That was the conclusion from last year’s Commission on Africa. And it is the view I have heard on sidewalks and in taxi cabs, in the marble halls of ministries, and in run down shacks of shanty towns.
“For us in the development community, good governance is not an end in itself. It is a foundation of the path out of poverty. It leads to faster and stronger growth, ensures that every development dollar is used to fight hunger, poverty and disease.
In more and more countries leaders and citizens alike are demanding transparent and accountable governments that deliver results. As we respond to their calls, we must recognize that governance challenges differ from one country to another. And our support must take that into account. A one-size-fits-all approach will simply not work.
And, we need to remember that progress in governance is made over time, not overnight…
“As a global institution, the World Bank Group can help countries learn from the experiences of others. In Chile, India, Mexico, and Korea, for example, transparent E procurement systems have cut the costs of public procurement, and saved literally billions of dollars in government expenditures. For developing countries, these savings mean more resources can be spent on textbooks, medicines, and essential public services.
“In Bangalore, India, a citizen’s group is using report cards to rate the quality of public services and hold public officials to account. By putting these ratings on public display, government performance has improved and customer satisfaction with electricity service and public hospitals has soared. We must also work with the other multilateral and bilateral institutions. In that spirit, this week, we concluded a milestone agreement with the other multilateral development banks to share information to combat fraud and corruption.”