The World Bank has published a new strategy on governance. It recognizes that the Bank’s record is weak in this area and that reforming public institutions is technically and politically complex. The paper outlines the new types of governance work the Bank is engaged in. For example not directly supplying infrastructure or services but “helping build institutions to encourage public and private actors to provide services”. The report proposes new survey techniques and studies, new staff and continued discussions with outsiders.
Reforming Public Institutions and Strengthening Governance, World Bank, 2000 is available on the World Bank’s Public Sector Reform website
The Group of 24 Southern countries published a research paper on ‘Governance-related conditionalities of the International Financial Institutions’. It questions whether the IFIs have the mandate, the comparative advantage and the competency to justify imposing governance-related conditionalities. It raises concerns that IMF and World Bank country strategy papers are often full of faddish ideas, not realistic priorities. The failure to acknowledge external factors including lack of transparency at the institutions themselves will be major barriers to improvement.
See also: The World Bank and the State, a Recipe for Change?, a Bretton Woods Project briefing