The Bank’s new Vice President for Europe, Jean-Francois Rischard aims to increase the Bank’s engagement with European NGOs and academics. Rischard explained that he wants to “explain the Bank better”. The institution aims to indentify 400-500 people to engage in “strategic dialogue”, ranging from the private sector, to NGOs, to official bodies such as the EU and the OECD Development Assistance Committee. The Bank’s new approach will range from organising events on issues such as corruption or cultural heritage to a major conference this June to bring together economists to discuss global development issues.
Various reasons are given for this intensification of activity. One is that NGOs and the press frequently criticise the Bank. As one frequent criticism is that the Bank is too dominated by the US government, it might help if the European countries – which together contribute 45 per cent of the Bank’s soft loan funds – were to coordinate their interventions at the Bank’s Board to counter-balance the US.