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This Week in World Bank History: October 20 – 26

October 25, 2002A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

Spain Highway Improvement Project. Part of the reconstructed highway between Barcelona and Madrid

October 21, 1946—The fledgling Bank announces it’s first loan application – from France, for $500 million. "The stated purpose of the loan is to meet the cost of purchasing and importing into France certain equipment and materials required as part of a general plan of reconstruction and modernization." The loan application was approved and became Loan 0001.

October 20, 1947—Vice President Robert L. Garner addresses 34th National Foreign Trade Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. He summarized the structure and activities of the Bank. At this point the Bank had a staff of 370 men and women of 20 different nationalities; four loans had been made. He pointed out the capital resources available to the Bank if needed, and gave some reasons for the relatively slow recovery of post-war Europe: that the cost of the recovery effort was too great for any one institution; that the present situation was more acute than was foreseen at Bretton Woods in 1944; the "deep and virulent division" between the West and East; and, to some extent, over-optimistic projections of how quickly recovery could be effected. He emphasized that the World Bank was not an emergency aid organization, but a reconstruction and development organization.

October 21, 1947—"In order to implement the security policy of the Bank and to regularize and expedite the transmission of coded communications, the Administration Department through Mail and Records maintains and is responsible for commercial and security codes used by the Bank. The Bank has available for its use the Peterson and Bentley commercial codes. These codes have a double use: (1) for expediting and reducing the cost of transmission, and (2) for providing a minimum degree of cryptographic security by means of a code supplement. For the transmission of messages requiring complete security, special code systems are available. Suitable codes will be issued to staff members proceeding away from the Bank by Mail and Records upon written authorization from the Department Head.…Mail and Records has been instructed to examine outgoing messages from the point of view of adapting them to wording which will reduce the length of the coded message and shorten transmission time. All amended messages will however be returned to the originating office without delay before dispatch for confirmation that no change has been made in the sense of the message. [signed] Chauncey B. Parker, Director of Administration." Administrative Circular, October 21, 1947.

Vice President Robert L. Garner

October 22, 1947—Arrangements for a joint parking lot for the Bank and Fund are announced. The parking lot was located at the corner of 20th and E Streets, N.W., and could accommodate 80 cars – 40 for the Bank and 40 for the Fund. Parking permits were required, and the permits were issued based on the following factors: physical handicaps of the applicant, necessitating use of a car; availability of public transportation from the applicant’s residence to 1818 H Street, N.W.; distance a staff member is required to drive to work, and; use made of car to transport other Fund and Bank staff members to and from work.

October 24, 1947—Charles C. Pineo resigns as loan director, and his duties are assumed by Mr. A. S. G. Hoar and Mr. Walter Hill.

October 23, 1949—President Eugene Black addresses the Annual Convention of the Savings Banks Association of the State of New York, aboard the steamship Nieuw Amsterdam. Black recognized that this audience was well familiar with the structure and functions of the International Bank, so he concentrated his talk on the procedures that the Bank undertook to appraise and evaluate loan projects. He used the recent loan to India (Loan 0019, Agricultural Machinery Project) as an example of the Bank’s procedures on evaluating the overall country economy and the provisions of a loan proposal.

October 26, 1950—George L. Martin appointed director of marketing, to be located at the Bank’s New York City office at 33 Liberty Street.

October 26, 1950—The death of William L. Ayers, Director of the Public Relations Department is announced. Mr. Ayers suffered a heart attack on board ship while traveling to the Annual Meetings in Paris. President Black wrote "Mr. Ayers communicated his vigor and warmth to everyone he worked with. He made a tremendous contribution to the effectiveness of the Bank and to the working spirit of the staff. He was stricken in the line of duty; the stubborn courage with which he met his illness gave us reason to hope, until the last moment, that he would be able to return to the work he had performed with such skill and enthusiasm. It will be very hard for many of us to reconcile ourselves to the fact that he is gone." Administrative Circular, October 26, 190.

October 23, 1951—A World Bank economic survey mission goes to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, headed by S. R. Cope with Andrew Kamarck. The mission examined the economic position and potentialities of Southern Rhodesia with a view to establishing a basis for Bank participation in the financing of the country’s development.

Chauncey B. Parker, Director of Administration

October 26, 1951—Richard H. Demuth heads the first Bank economic survey mission to Surinam (now Suriname). The mission investigated agricultural development, transportation, potential industrial development, use of forest resources, fisheries, and hydroelectric power development over a four week period. Demuth joined the Bank in 1946 as Assistant to the President, and served under presidents Meyer, McCloy and Black. From 1961 to his retirement in 1973 he served as Director of the Development Services Department and the International Relations Department. He was also chairman of CGIAR.

October 20, 1952—An economic mission to Japan headed by John C. de Wilde and William M. Gilmartin is announced. It was the first Bank mission to Japan, and conducted an appraisal of the overall economy rather than specific project proposals. (Japan joined the Bank in August 1952.)

October 20, 1953—Dorsey Stephens is named the Bank’s regional representative in Middle East, with offices in Beirut, Lebanon. Mr. Stephens served as the liaison point for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. His duties included creating a better understanding of the Bank in the Middle East; advising prospective borrowers on the preparation of projects for the Bank’s consideration; and developing and maintaining contacts with governments and business communities and with regional and international organizations in the area.

October 20, 1953—A.S.G. Hoar heads a four-week mission to Norway to study the general economic situation and to acquaint the Bank with Norway’s investment plans with a view to possible loans.

October 21, 1955—The World Bank’s offices in the Equitable Building are burglarized, and a number of personal checks, travelers’ checks, cash and some valuables were stolen.

October 24, 1955—World Bank engineers travel to Egypt to discuss the technical problems associated with the construction of the proposed Aswan High Dam, and possible funding by the World Bank.

October 22, 1959Electric Power Regulation in Latin America is published by the Johns Hopkins Press. The study was done by the Harvard Law School, at the request of the World Bank, to learn the effects of regulatory policies on the growth of electric power industry. The study concluded that despite high costs, Latin American electricity rates had been held well below the average rates prevailing in the US. The study recommendation was that developing nations needed plentiful electricity more than cheap electricity, and that the best way to get plentiful electricity was to pay for what the service cost.

October 21, 1960—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Sudan, which becomes the 60th member of IFC.

Sidney R. Cope, headed a mission to Southern Rhodesia in 1951

October 24, 1960—The Bank publishes The Economic Development of Libya, a report of an economic survey mission undertaken by the Bank, the first comprehensive study of the Libyan economy since Libya became independent in 1951. The report concluded that while the discovery of oil offered the long-term prospect for a prosperous economy, the petroleum industry in itself was unlikely to provide employment and wages for more than a small fraction of the Libyan people. The report recommended the development of other sectors in the Libyan economy such as agriculture, tourism and fisheries. The need for basic education and experience in self-government were also stressed.

October 26, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Egypt, which becomes the 20th member of IDA.

October 26, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Yugoslavia, which becomes the 21st member of IDA.

October 25, 1961—The creation of a new Development Services Department and a Technical Assistance Committee in the Bank is announced. Both units were to provide for more effective administration of the expanding technical assistance and training activities of the Bank. Richard H. Demuth was appointed as Director of the new Department. The principal units of the new Department were: the Development Advisory Service, the Technical Assistance Staff, and the Economic Development Institute. The Technical Assistance Committee was responsible for reviewing specific proposals for Bank or IDA technical assistance and advice to member countries.

October 24, 1962—Executive Directors select George D. Woods to succeed Eugene Black as President of the IBRD and IDA, and Chairman of the IFC. At the time Woods had a long-standing relationship with the Bank, having played a prominent part in the distribution and sale of World Bank Bond issues since 1952. He had also undertaken special missions at the request of the Bank, visiting India, Pakistan, and assisting the Bank in the negotiations with the United Arab Republic concerning the Suez Canal nationalization.

October 23, 1963—EDI begins first Project Evaluation Course conducted in Spanish.

October 25, 1963—First funding for Spain: Loan 0360 – Highway Improvement Project. The total cost of the Project was estimated at about US$915 million, of which the Bank provided US$33 million. The Improvement Works covered various important sections totaling 786 km. They included works on the roads forming the Madrid-Barcelona-Alicante triangle, construction of a new highway from Oviedo to Figaredo in the north, and construction of the new Palma airport freeway on Mallorca.

October 20, 1966—A new series of publications, The World Bank Staff Occasional Papers, is announced. Paper no. 1 was "The Economic choice between hydroelectric and thermal power developments," by Herman G. van der Tak; Paper no. 2 was "Quantification of road user savings," by Jan de Weille.

October 20, 1970—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Gabon, which becomes the 95th member of IFC.

October 26, 1973—The World Bank announces the approval of Loan 0941 – Fishing Harbors Rehabilitation Project to Iceland to help rehabilitate fisheries seriously damaged in the volcanic eruption at Vestmannaeyjar earlier that year.

October 26, 1976—The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) meets in Washington, pledging $78 million in research assistance for the calendar year 1977.

October 21, 1980—First meeting of the Consultative Group for Mauritius is convened by the World Bank.

Andrew Kamarck was a member of the 1951 mission to Southern Rhodesia

October 20, 1982—Vice President Martijn Paijmans announces that "staffing adjustments" due to IDA shortfalls have been completed, with nearly all staff satisfactorily re-assigned. (In June, Paijmans announced that staffing adjustments would need to be made due to shortfalls in IDA financing.)

October 22, 1982—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Guinea, which becomes the 123rd member of IFC.

October 25, 1982—Ibrahim F. Shihata is appointed Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank, and as a member of the Managing Committee. He served in this position until 1998. Mr. Shihata was influential in the establishment of MIGA, and played key roles in the founding of GEF and also served as the Secretary General of ICSID. Mr. Shihata retired from the Bank in 2000, and died in 2001.

October 23, 1985—IFC and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Tonga, which becomes the 128th member of IFC and the 134th member of IDA.

October 23, 1987—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by St. Kitts and Nevis, which becomes the 136th member of IDA.

October 26, 1990—President Barber Conable announces the appointment of Mr. Lawrence H. Summers as Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist, replacing Stanley Fischer (who left the Bank in August 1990). Mr. Summers remained in this position until January 1993.

October 26, 1990—Environment Director Kenneth Piddington addresses an environmental seminar in St. Louis, Missouri, calling for more cooperation between governments, international development institutions, and NGOs to meet environmental challenges. Piddington pointed out the success of several recent cooperative projects, and called for new alliances to merge environmental and development goals. He denounced recent public statement by NGOs which attributed all blame for environmental problems to the World Bank. He said that for progress to be made in this area, three things must happen: the links between development and ecological concerns must be recognized; development institutions must be more open in their procedures, especially in the way they apply environmental assessments; and NGOs must respond to governments and development institutions by clearly identifying areas where they want to be involved.

October 21, 1991—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Papua New Guinea, which becomes the 71st member of MIGA.

October 24, 1991—Chile becomes the 96th member of ICSID.

October 22, 1992—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Mali, which becomes the 96th member of MIGA.

October 23, 1992—First funding for Lithuania: Loan 3524 – Rehabilitation Loan Project. The loan financed imports of inputs essential to control further declines in output of the energy and agricultural sectors, as well as vitally-needed pharmaceutical products; purchases with local currency in commercial banks for the import needs of individual productive enterprises; and procurement of and disbursement operations for the loan, as well as critical elements of the reform program, which were supported with technical assistance in a number of areas.

Richard Demuth, Assistant to the President, headed a Bank mission to Surinam in 1951

October 23, 1992—First funding for Latvia: Loan 3525 – Rehabilitation Loan Project. The Rehabilitation Loan Project provided foreign exchange to finance critically-needed imports and technical assistance in three key sectors: energy (including heavy fuel oil for heating during the winter); agriculture (including agrochemicals, veterinary medicines and machinery and equipment for food production); and health (including pharmaceuticals and vaccines, medical supplies and raw materials for the local production of pharmaceuticals.

October 23, 1992—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors meet to discuss the Sardar Sarovar projects on India’s Narmada River. The Board reviewed the recommendations presented by the Independent Review panel headed by Bradford Morse, and the Bank Management’s proposals for next steps to be taken. The Morse Commission was appointed in June 1991 at the recommendation of World Bank President Barber Coinable, and conducted the first independent review of a World Bank project. The Independent Review stated that "performance under these projects has fallen short of what is called for under Bank policies and guidelines and the policies of the Government of India." The initial Bank response by President Lewis Preston was that continued support of the project was warranted, although with a vigorous response and remedial actions to solve the shortcomings of the projects. Management response concentrated on improvements in policies, organization and management, and implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation; tighter linkage between resettlement and rehabilitation and the progress on the construction of the dam; and strengthened environmental planning. (Bank participation in the projects was canceled in 1995.)

October 26, 1992—Turkmenistan becomes the 106th member of ICSID.

October 20, 1993—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by United Arab Emirates, which becomes the 115th member of MIGA.

October 22, 1993—First funding for Uzbekistan: Loan 3650 – Institution Building / Technical Assistance Project. The Uzbek economy reflected the economic structure left by 70 years of central planning. Production and trade emphasized specialization in large-scale agriculture and mineral extraction and a small services sector. The country has traditionally been a supplier of raw materials. The labor force was highly educated, and it was expected that the skill level of the labor force would provide the basis for transforming the country from a provider of raw materials to a producer of finished products. The government identified five priority areas in which extensive institution building was required: privatization and enterprise reform; legal and regulatory reform; restructuring of the financial infrastructure; strengthening of social safety and employment institutions; and initiating strategy development in key sectors. The Bank loan provided technical assistance to the country in each of the priorities identified.

October 22, 1993—A memo describing the new Performance Management Process (PMP) is distributed to all staff. The PMP replaced the PPR (Personal Performance Review) and the IPP (Individual Performance Plan).

October 26, 1993—The Consultative Group for Moldova meets for the first time in Paris.

October 26, 1994—President Lewis Preston announces the resignation of Stephen Eccles as Vice President and Controller, effective November 30, 1994. Mr. Eccles was appointed to this position in 1990, after serving in a variety of assignments in Operations and Finance. Mr. Eccles first joined the Bank in March 1966 as a Young Professional.

Yugoslavia becomes a member of IDA, 1960

October 23, 1995—The third Seminar on Private Sector Participation in Water Management, sponsored by the World Bank and the Spanish Water Industry opens in Barcelona, Spain. The purpose of the seminar was to promote private sector participation in water financing and regulation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Private sector participation was sought in light of the public sector’s perceived inability to provide reliable and efficient water supply and sewerage service.

October 22, 1996—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Qatar, which becomes the 138th member of MIGA.

October 24, 1997—A Year 2000 Computer problem (Y2K) prevention program is announced for the World Bank.

October 26, 1997—At the World Congress of Accountants meeting in Paris, President James Wolfensohn, via teleconference, calls on the private sector to be more aggressive in fighting corruption and money laundering, urging businesses and governments to adopt stricter standards of transparency and civic responsibility. Wolfensohn stated, "This is not a luxury; this is a fundamental prerequisite for maximizing growth and poverty reduction. And it needs to be regarded as such. We know that lack of transparency imperils effective governance. We know that social consensus is built on information. And we do not have to make to great a mental leap to understand that voice is a crucial aspect of sustainable economic reform." World Bank News Release, October 26, 1997.

October 22, 1998—Croatia becomes the 130th member of ICSID.

October 22, 1998—The World Bank and the Government of Indonesia announce a joint investigation into school-building activities in Indonesia. Routine Bank supervision of a loan project revealed deficiencies and irregularities in the construction of World Bank financed schools in East Java and East Sumatra, indicating that the work performed was incomplete or substandard. Inspections and engineering analyses were conducted to check on the quality of construction and safety of schools in various other provinces.

October 20, 1999—President Wolfensohn expresses his congratulations to the new Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, and pledges continued World Bank cooperation and support.

October 22, 1999—The World Bank announces that it is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct on the part of Mr. Leonid Grigoriev, a Russian Federation official who served as Alternate Executive Director and Adviser to the Executive Director for the Russian Federation. The Russian Government and the Office of the Executive Director fully cooperated in the investigation.

October 25, 1999—The Information Solutions Group (ISG) announces a freeze on the introduction of new electronic data systems, in preparation for the Y2K preparations.

Spain Highway Improvement Project. President George Woods and Mr. Juan Sanchez-Cortes sign the loan agreement

October 20, 2000—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Thailand, which becomes the 154th member of MIGA.

October 21, 2000—Kazakhstan becomes the 133rd member of ICSID.

October 25, 2000—Security issues a KIOSK announcement to all staff urging increased security awareness in Europe, due to the continued protests against the Bank, Fund, WTO, G8, G20, and other international organizations.

October 20, 2001—President Wolfensohn announces the realignment of top management responsibilities among Managing Directors Shengman Zhang, Jeffrey Goldstein, Mamphela Ramphele and Peter Woicke.

October 23, 2001—The World Bank and the World Health Organization launch the Global Plan to Stop TB. It is an outgrowth of the Stop TB Partnership, set up in 1998, and comprised of more than 120 groups joined to control and eventually eliminate tuberculosis. The Global Plan to Stop TB called for the expansion of access to DOTS, the internationally accepted strategy for Tuberculosis treatment. The Bank and WHO called for increased financial backing for the program from governments throughout the world.

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




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