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This Week in World Bank History: December 22 – 28

December 22, 2002 A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

President Black signs the first loan agreement to Egypt for the development of the Suez Canal, 1959

December 27, 1945—IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by: Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iraq, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Egypt, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia. The Articles would become effective upon signature by twenty-eight governments (which occurred on December 31, 1945).

December 28, 1945—IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Paraguay, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ecuador.

December 24, 1946—IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Colombia.

A dredging ship at work in the Canal, 1959
December 28, 1950—The Bank issues its year end report: total IBRD loans passed the $1 billion mark for the first time; there were 49 member countries; 17 different loans were approved, totaling $279,230,000; comprehensive survey missions were sent to Cuba, Turkey and Guatemala; a General Reserve against losses on loans and guarantees was established. The largest loan of the year – for $100 million – was made to Australia for the purchase of a wide variety of capital goods and equipment for agriculture, mining, manufacturing and transportation. Technical assistance services were broadened (e.g. advice to the Lempa River Hydroelectric Commission of El Salvador on the flotation of a local bond issue for funding the construction of a hydroelectric project).

December 23, 1954—Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India, Ltd., receives loan of $10 million.

Widening the Canal, 1959
December 22, 1955—The Bank announces its first funding for Honduras: Loan 0135 – Highway Maintenance Project, for $4.2 million. ) The project assisted in the establishment and equipping of a highway maintenance department, financed the cost of consulting services and engineering studies for the improvement, reconstruction, and new construction of the various sections of the Northern Highway (from Tegucigalpa through Comayagua and San Pedro Sula to Puerto Cortes, about 370 kms); and the Western Highway (from San Pedro Sula through Santa Rosa de Copan and Nueva Ocotopeque to the Salvadorian border, about 270 kms).

December 26, 1956—"Eugene R. Black, President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), today strongly denied any possibility that the World Bank would make a loan to the present Hungarian government. This denial arose out of various reports which have appeared over the last two days in the press and on the radio that the Hungarian government was seeking such a loan. Mr. Black pointed out that Hungary is not a member of the World Bank and is therefore not eligible to borrow from it. Furthermore, Mr. Black stated that even if Hungary were a member, he would not in any case be prepared to recommend a loan to the present Hungarian government." World Bank Press Release

Ships pass by the construction site at the Suez Canal, 1959
December 27, 1956—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Belgium, Iraq, and Italy, which respectively become the 39th , 40th, and 41st members of IFC.

December 28, 1956—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Iran, Indonesia, Lebanon, the Netherlands, and Venezuela, which respectively become the 42nd , 43rd, 44th, 45th and 46th members of IFC.

December 22, 1958—The Executive Directors recommend a capital increase for IBRD. The proposal called for an increase in the authorized capital of the Bank from $10 billion to $21 billion. The proposal was approved in principle in February 1959, and was formally approved by the vote of the Board of Governors in September 1959. The principal objective in enlarging the Bank’s capital was strengthening its ability to borrow funds for financing loans to its member countries by increasing the portion of members’ subscriptions remaining on call. The capital increase was first suggested at the 1958 Annual Meetings in New Delhi.

Operational headquarters of the Suez Canal Authority in Port Said, 1959
December 22, 1959—The Bank announces its first funding for Egypt: Loan 0243 – Suez Canal Development Project - $56.5 million loaned to Suez Canal Authority. The Project consisted of the widening of the single way Canal cuts at various locations for the purpose of eliminating navigational hazards and increasing the wet cross sectional area of the Canal; the deepening of the Canal and its approaches in various locations to permit the passage of vessels having a draft of 11.28 meters (37 feet), and in the case of certain parts of the cuts to increase the wet cross sectional area; the deepening and improvement of Port Said Harbor and the provision of berths for cargo and passenger ships clear of the Canal channel and assembly area; the construction of a research laboratory and miscellaneous buildings required for the Suez Canal Authority's operations; the construction of roads and bridges in the Port Tewfik and Port Said areas; miscellaneous civil engineering and maritime construction; and the purchase of dredging equipment, tugs, launches, barges, ferry boats, pilot vessels, floating and land cranes, and earth moving, electrical, air supply, water supply, fire fighting and telecommunications equipment to meet the Authority's future requirements and to replace obsolete equipment.

December 22, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Ireland, Israel and Turkey, which respectively become the 24th , 25th , and 26th members of IDA.

December 23, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Honduras and Japan, which respectively become the 27th and 28th members of IDA.

His Excellency Yusuf Haikal and Sir William Iliff sign the first credit agreement to the Kingdom of Jordan, 1961
December 22, 1961—The Bank announces its first funding for Jordan: Credit 0018 – Amman Water Supply Development Board Project. The project allowed for the development of several new wells and attached pumping stations to increase the water supply from a capacity of 620 cubic meters per hour to approximately 1,500 cubic meters per hour; major improvements and reinforcements to the existing transmission and distribution mains; additional distribution reservoir storage capacity of approximately 3,000 cubic meters; superchlorination, dechlorination, retention and high-lift pumping facilities at Ain Ghazal and Wadi Sir; necessary water testing laboratory facilities; and management services during the period of construction and an initial period of operations. The project also included provision for additional water treatment facilities as needed. The existing water supply system in Amman was inadequate and unsafe due to the rapid growth of the city from a population of around 100,000 in 1952 to over 200,000 in 1961. Only about two-thirds of the population were served by the municipal water system. The rest depended upon private charity for water.

December 22, 1964—Adbel G. El Emary is appointed to succeed Pierre L. Moussa as director of IBRD Department of Operations for Africa, to be effective January 1, 1965. Ladislaus von Hoffmann is appointed IFC director of investments for Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, replacing Mr. El Emary.

December 28, 1964—The Bank, the UN Special Fund and the Government of Surinam begin a study of the transport system in Surinam. The study was to review existing transportation systems, with a view toward improving them to support the increased export of agricultural products and bauxite (a primary feature of Surinam’s economy).

December 25, 1966—Cyprus becomes the 23rd member of ICSID.

December 23, 1969—The Bank agrees to lend an additional $100 million to IFC to provide funds for the Corporation’s lending program. The first Bank loan to IFC - for $100 million - took place in 1966. That loan and the current loan were then consolidated into a single loan for $200 million. The IBRD and IFC Articles of Agreement were amended in 1965 to allow such loans.

December 23, 1971—IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Oman, which becomes the 117th member of the Bank.

December 23, 1972—A major earthquake devastates the capital city of Managua and other parts of Nicaragua. The Bank joins with other international aid organizations to help plan disaster recovery efforts.

President and Mrs. McNamara at the 1968 Christmas party
December 26, 1974World Bank Policies and Operations 1974 is issued to the public. The Policies and Operations series was published on an irregular basis by the Bank to provide an explanation of the basic purposes, policies, organization and operations of IBRD, IDA and IFC. ICSID was also described in some of the editions.

December 22, 1978—The Bank publishes the World Atlas of the Child. The publication was produced in recognition of the International Year of the Child (IYC), 1979. It provided statistical information and projections on child population, birth rates, life expectancy, infant mortality, and child labor.

December 23, 1981—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by United Arab Emirates, which becomes the 128th member of IDA.

December 27, 1982—The Bank announces that a Resident Mission will open in early 1983 in Antananarivo, Madagascar, headed by Mr. Paul Blay.

December 27, 1988—The Bank approves a $30 million emergency loan to Jamaica to fund priority imports needed for reconstruction from Hurricane Gilbert.

December 28, 1988—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Finland, which becomes the 48th member of MIGA.

President and Mrs. McNamara greet Bank staff at the 1968 Christmas party
December 28, 1989—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by France, which becomes the 55th member of MIGA.

December 28, 1990—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Mauritius, which becomes the 64th member of MIGA.

December 20, 1991—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by El Salvador, which becomes the 75th member of MIGA.

December 27, 1991—The Bank announces its first funding for Mongolia: Credit 2321 – Technical Assistance Project. The project helped Mongolia develop its institutional capacity for macroeconomic management in a market economy, and helped define sectoral strategies for selected sectors and subsectors. The project included a program of advisory assistance, in-country and overseas training, and material support for developing Mongolia's institutional capacity for macroeconomic management and reform. In addition, strategic studies in selected sectors/subsectors, and feasibility studies of key projects identified in light of the sector strategies were financed by the project.

Guests at the 1967 Christmas party
December 23, 1996—The Bank and the European Commission announce that they will co-host a Donor Information meeting in Brussels in January 1997 to help donors prepare further pledges for the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnia Herzegovina reconstruction program began in 1996, and targeted the rehabilitation of rail lines, airports, power plants and transmission lines. The program also provided heating facilities for residences in Sarajevo, and facilitated repairs to 15,000 private homes and apartments.

December 23, 1997—Guyana becomes the fourth country to receive debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, with the World Bank "buying back" and canceling $27 million in debt.

December 23, 1998—The World Bank approves credits to Honduras and Nicaragua for emergency reconstruction following Hurricane Mitch. The credits provided financing for urgently needed imports, including construction materials and equipment, transport vehicles, petroleum and fuel products, seeds, fertilizers, agricultural equipment, materials, machinery and fuel, medical supplies and equipment, and school supplies and equipment. The credit to Honduras was for $200 million, and the credit to Nicaragua was for $50 million.

Margaret Crouse, Julian Ford and Mrs. Nestor Carrillo share a quiet moment, 1957
December 23, 1998—The World Bank approves a $5 million Learning and Innovation loan for Romania to help finance a Cultural Heritage Project. The project aimed at assisting Romania to develop a new national cultural heritage strategy to preserve the country’s priority cultural heritage sites and assets. This was the first World Bank lending operation co-financed by the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

December 23, 1999—Chief Information Officer Mohammed Muhsin issues a KIOSK announcement detailing plans for the New Years weekend Y2K conversion. Some services were temporarily suspended during the weekend, and staff were asked not to perform certain functions until the Y2K transition was completed. The Bank-wide Y2K conversion was successful.

Without Records there is no History. Courtesy of ISG’s World Bank Group Archives.

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