The Role of the World Bank in Poverty Alleviation and Human Development in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction. by Global Governance

The Role of the World Bank in Poverty Alleviation and Human Development in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction.

By Global Governance

  • Release Date: 2007-10-01
  • Category: Politics & Current Events

Brief Description

This month, October 2007, more than 140 journals worldwide are participating in an effort to raise awareness and stimulate research on a global theme of poverty and human development. In this spirit, Global Governance presents this special issue on the World Bank, the preeminent international development aid agency whose core mission is the alleviation of poverty and the promotion of human development and economic growth. Established on 1 July 1944, in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, by the victors of World War II, the World Bank (hereafter the Bank) was designed to provide needed capital and technical assistance to rebuild postwar Europe. Since then, the Bank has transformed into a much larger and more broadly defined development institution, self-characterized by the banner hanging in its Washington, DC, lobby: "Our Dream Is a World Free of Poverty." The World Bank Group's (1) mandates and activities reflect an understanding of "development" that has dramatically expanded over the past sixty years. Today the Bank provides loans, grants, technical assistance, and highly influential research and data on development issues as varied as infrastructure, gender, sustainable development, AIDS prevention and treatment, anticorruption, and postconflict reconstruction. Yet the years have taken a toll on the Bank. There is little, if any, consensus on whether the Bank has been successful in its endeavors. On the one hand, Bank proponents laud statistics demonstrating the dramatic reduction in absolute poverty and other indicators of economic growth and human development. On the other hand, Bank critics--an ever growing group--dispute these claims, providing their own interpretation of the evidence to argue that the Bank has not been effective in fostering equitable, sustained growth or human development, and in some instances has contributed to the perpetuation of poverty in many areas of the developing world.

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