By James D. Wolfensohn
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Extra info for A case for aid: building consensus for development assistance
It is now generally an effective way of providing strong reform support in countries with adequate policy and institutional frameworks. By the 1990s, adjustment lending was earning higher internal Bank evaluation ratings (as judged by the independent Operations Evaluation Department) than investment lending. And attention to the distributive impact of reforms has improved, although further learning is still necessary. One broad lesson from experience is that reform does not usually succeed without strong local ownership; this lesson has provided the impetus for the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process.
The Bank is the world’s largest external funder of education, having provided a cumulative $30 billion for education projects. 3 billion a year for health, nutrition, and population projects. These projects had significant results in themselves and were often replicated outside of the original project area. Although it is not possible to quantify this overall effect, country experiences are indicative. In China, for example, a project in the late 1990s helped raise the proportion of households using iodized salt from 40 to 89 percent, reducing iodine deficiency in targeted age groups from 13 to 3 percent.
For example, the average country with $8,000 per capita income in 1950 (measured in 1995 dollars) would have had an infant mortality rate of 45 per 1,000 live births; by 1995, an average country at the same income level would have had an infant mortality rate of just 15 per 1,000 live births, a reduction of two-thirds. Many developing countries have acted on advances in understanding and knowledge by improving policies and institutions, often with strong results. The development progress that we have seen in many countries can be attributed primarily to actions by the countries themselves: specifically, improving the investment climate and investing in people.