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This Week in World Bank History: October 13 – 19

October 18, 2002A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

J. W. Beyen, Executive Director for the Netherlands, 1946

October 14, 1946—President Eugene Meyer announces that interest in World Bank loans has been expressed from Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, and Poland. (The first formal loan application was from France on October 21, 1946.)

October 14, 1946—J. W. Beyen, Executive Director, speaks to the Annual Meeting of Savings Bank Association of NY, in Quebec. This was one of a series of addresses made by senior Bank staff and EDs meant to introduce the newly formed World Bank to finance and business leaders.

October 13, 1947—"In connection with the program of food conservation in this country, the President of the United States has asked for full participation and cooperation. He specifically requests: 1) That each person save a slice of bread per day. 2) That Tuesdays be meatless days. 3) That Thursdays be egg-less and fowl-less days. This program is called to the attention of all members of the staff as worthy of their serious consideration, since it is designed to relieve price pressure in the United States and to conserve food for export to food-deficit countries. [signed] R. L. Garner, Vice President." Administrative Circular, October 13, 1947.

October 17, 1949—Walter Hill is appointed as the special representative in the Paris office, located at 67 rue de Lille. Mr. Hill replaced J. Grant Forbes, who had represented the Bank in Paris since August 1948. Mr. Hill was responsible for liaison with the Economic Cooperation Administration and the Organization for European Economic Cooperation. The Bank also closed two small offices in Europe, one in The Hague and one in Copenhagen, which had been used to supervise the end-use of loans. The functions of these two offices were transferred to Paris.

Kansai Power Project, Japan, serving the cities of Osaka, Kobe, and Amagasaki. (1955 photo)

October 17, 1949—The World Bank announces the approval of two loan—one for $2.7 million to Yugoslavia and another for $2.3 million to Finland. Both loans are for timber-producing equipment. The loans were the Bank’s first—and only—short-term loans; both loans were repaid in September 1951. The loans were part of a series of loans considered in connection with the so-called Timber Equipment Projects developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Timber Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, and the World Bank. The projects were intended to alleviate the current and prospective timber shortage in Europe by supplying the funds necessary for timber exporting countries to import lumbering and sawmill equipment from the United States and other European countries.

October 13, 1950—World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) jointly sponsor an agricultural survey mission to Uruguay. The Chief of the Mission was Sir Maurice Hutton of Glaxo Laboratories, who headed a team of eight agricultural specialists. The mission staff investigated agricultural production, marketing and prices, pasture and forage, dairying, soils and fertilizer, agricultural engineering, forestry, agricultural extension service, and cold storage. It was the Bank’s first mission to Uruguay, and lasted 10 weeks.

The Kansai Power plant under construction

October 13, 1950—World Bank sends an economic mission to Pakistan headed by George W. Burgess. The mission lasted six weeks and was the first mission following Pakistan’s membership in Bank. The purpose of the mission was to investigate certain projects proposed for Bank funding. The potential projects were in the fields of irrigation and agriculture; hydroelectric and thermal electric power; railway rehabilitation; port improvement; cotton, paper, jute and wool manufacture; and telecommunications. (The first loan to Pakistan was in March 1952, Loan 0060 – Railway Project, for the rehabilitation of existing railways and the replacement of obsolete equipment.)

October 19, 1950—The World Bank announces a $9 million loan to the Industrial Development Bank of Turkey.

October 19, 1951—The World Bank sends a mission to Costa Rica, headed by Federico Consolo. It was the first Bank mission to Costa Rica. The mission reviewed the economic and financial situation of the country, the government’s general plans for development, and studied projects for which financing was requested.

October 17, 1952—"The Major Long-Term Trends in the Mexican Economy," prepared by Mexican officials and Albert Waterston and Jonas H. Haralz of the World Bank, is completed. The report was the joint product of the Government of Mexico and the World Bank and reviewed the course and effects of investment in Mexico from 1939 to 1950, making assessment of the prospects for changes in the national income and the balance of payments for the following 10 years. The working party covered every aspect of the Mexican economy, including agriculture, mining, petroleum, electric power, industry and transportation and communications, education, public health and welfare and public finance. The joint Mexican-Bank economic study was published as The Economic Development of Mexico in May 1953.

Spain becomes a member of IDA, October 18, 1960. President Black is seated on the right

October 15, 1953—First funding for Japan: Loan 0089 – Kansai Power Project. The loan, for $40.2 million, was used for the import of thermal power equipment for the Kansai, Kyushu, and Chubu power companies.

October 15, 1955—Press release on the Indus Waters discussion: "It has not been possible to bring the discussions to a successful conclusion by the specified date. Consequently, by agreement between the two Governments and the Bank, the terminal date has been extended." World Bank Press Release, October 15, 1955.

October 14, 1957—William Diamond’s Development Banks is published. It is the first EDI publication. The publication was produced in order to analyze the organization and operations of the various types of development banks, the problems confronting them, and the solutions which had evolved. The book opened with a definition of development banks, and discussed the process of investment, some experience of developed countries, and the problems of formation and operation of development banks. The publication was important due to rapid growth of development banks in less developed countries.

October 13, 1959—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Argentina, which becomes the 58th member of IFC.

October 18, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Spain, which becomes the 19th member of IDA.

Signing of loan agreement, Credit 0011, the first funding for Bangladesh (East Pakistan), 1961

October 19, 1960—The World Bank agrees to act as executing agency for a mineral survey in Surinam. The survey was funded by the Government of Surinam and the UN Special Fund. The survey consisted of both airborne and ground geophysical surveys, using magnetometer, electro-magnetic and radiometric measurements, geological and mineral mapping, and drilling.

October 15, 1961—Robert L Garner retires as President of IFC. Eugene Black assumes the position of President of IFC; Martin M. Rosen becomes Executive Vice President of IFC.

October 19, 1961—First funding for East Pakistan (Bangladesh): Credit 0011 and Credit S008 Dacca – Narayangam Demra Irrigation Project. The Dacca Narayangam Demra Irrigation Project (Credit 0011) provided for the pump irrigation of 16,800 acres, of which 11,900 acres was also afforded flood protection and pump drainage. Water for irrigation was pumped from the Lakhya River. The main works included an intake canal, a pumping plant and sub-station, distribution canals, drainage channels and ditches and the closing of bridges and culverts in the road embankments for flood protection. The main civil works consisted of a pumping plant, irrigation and drainage system, flood protection works, major and minor structures, and land leveling and field borders. The Dacca Southwest Irrigation Project (Cr. S0008) provided flood control, drainage, irrigation and internal navigation for an area of about 490,000 acres. The elimination of flooding and the provision of irrigation enabled the use of fertilizer and improved varieties of rice, contributing to an estimated tripling of rice yields in the project area.

October 17, 1962—Eugene Black announces the appointment of Dr. Harvie Branscomb as full-time consultant to the Bank for educational policy. President Black stated that "nothing is more vital to the economic progress of underdeveloped countries than the development of human resources through widespread education."

Mr. Abdel G. El Emary, appointed Director of the East Africa Department, 1968

October 14, 1966—The Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) enters into force—30 days after the 20th member country ratified the convention. The 20 original members consisted of (in order of ratification): Nigeria, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Gabon, Uganda, United States, Tunisia, Congo Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Ghana, Iceland, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Malawi, Chad, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Dahomey (Benin), Malagasy Republic (Madagascar), Jamaica, Netherlands.

October 15, 1966—Pakistan becomes the 21st member of ICSID.

October 19, 1966The World Bank approves a $100 million credit for IFC. It was the first Bank loan to IFC, following necessary amendments to the Articles of Agreement of both organizations. The loan was used by IFC to reimburse itself for loans already made and outstanding. Under the terms of the amendments, IFC was eligible to borrow up to four times its unimpaired subscribed capital and surplus for use in the lending part of its investment operations.

October 18, 1967—IBRD and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by The Gambia, which becomes the 107th member of the Bank and the 98th member of IDA.

October 17, 1968—Reorganization of the World Bank Area Departments is announced. The Africa Department was divided into two Departments: East Africa (headed by Abdel G. El Emary) and West Africa (headed by Roger Chaufournier). The Asia Department was divided into two Departments: South Asia (headed by I.P.M. Cargill), and East Asia and Pacific (headed by Raymond J. Goodman.) The Europe Department was merged with the Middle East and North Africa Department and was headed by Michael L. Lejeune.

Raymond J. Goodman, appointed Director of the East Asia and Pacific Department, 1968

October 19, 1968—President McNamara addresses the Inter American Press Association in Buenos Aires, promising to double the amount of lending to Latin America, and calling for governments to develop a serious strategy to control population growth. He spoke on the failure of the US Congress to support replenishment of the IDA, saying "I am concerned, deeply concerned." Mr. McNamara pledged to devote particular attention to agriculture, "long a neglected step-child of development, and to education, which holds the keys to man’s self-fulfillment." After acknowledging the controversial nature of the issue of population growth, McNamara said "I assure you that I tread this thorny path only because I am convinced that unrestricted population growth cripples economic growth, and this in fact degrades the dignity of man…I see no alternative to our direct involvement in this crisis." This was Mr. McNamara’s first trip to Latin America as President of the World Bank.

October 13, 1969—David L. Gordon is appointed Chief of the Bank’s Resident Mission in Pakistan. Mr. Gordon transferred to the position after serving as the Chief of the Bank’s Permanent Mission in Eastern Africa.

October 14, 1970—President McNamara announces the establishment of a new Department of Computing Activities, effective February 1, 1971. He cited the increasing importance of electronic data processing in the work of the World Bank Group and the increased international use of computers. The new Department was charged with the development of information retrieval systems, management information systems, and computer processes and methodology for gathering and processing statistical and economic data. Mervin Muller was appointed Director of the new Department, which reported to Hollis B. Chenery, Economic Adviser to the President.

October 16, 1972—The World Bank opens a Regional Mission in Bangkok, Thailand, headed by Mr. Manfred G. Blobel. The mission served Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Khmer Republic and Vietnam.

Michael L. Lejeune, appointed Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department, 1968

October 17, 1974Redistribution with Growth, by Hollis Chenery and others, is published. Acknowledging that the increase in income per capita has increased, but that this benefit has meant little to a third of the population of developing countries, Chenery proposed a new analytical framework for the study of income distribution and growth, income inequality and the relationship to poverty. The book concluded with policy recommendations and analysis of several countries which had implemented income redistribution policies.

October 13, 1978—First funding for Comoros: Credit 0852 – Highway Project. The project strengthened the road administration, upgraded and expanded the main road network, and assisted in the preparation of a subsequent highway project and an integrated rural development project.

October 16, 1981—President A.W. Clausen announces the establishment of a Medical Department for the Bank and Fund. Dr. Andre Lebrun was the first Director of the Medical Department.

October 14, 1983—Vice President Martin Paijmans issues a Bank-wide statement related to incentives for encouraging early retirement. Stating that the Bank had reached a point of low staff growth, Paijmans announced a special one-time program to enable a limited number of senior level staff to retire early without incurring the financial hardship that a premature termination of career might normally entail. The program was available to Vice Presidents, Directors, Assistant Directors, Senior Advisers, and Division Chiefs (in Operations).

October 18, 1983—Vice President Martin Paijmans announces the retirement of C. Eugene Webb, Ombudsman. Mr. Webb joined the Bank’s Legal Department in 1957 and remained there until 1981 (with the exception of two years service for the Attorney General of Tanzania, and two years in the Bank’s South America Department.) Webb was appointed as the Bank’s first Ombudsman in 1981. He was succeeded as Ombudsman by James B. Hendry.

Mervin Muller, appointed Director of the Department of Computing Activities, 1971

October 15, 1985—The World Bank announces the establishment of a resident mission in Nouakchott, Mauritania, headed by Etienne Baranshamaje. (The office opened on September 24, 1985.)

October 13, 1986—The World Bank convenes the Fisheries Development Donor Consultation, with more than 25 multilateral and bilateral donors meeting to discuss aid coordination in the fishery sector, including topics such as the improvement in the quality of fisheries aid projects, improved exchange of information, improvements in the consultative process, and prospects for international cooperation in fisheries research.

October 16, 1986—The World Bank establishes a Resident Mission in Manila, The Philippines, headed by Mr. Rolando Arrivillaga.

October 16, 1986—IFC announces a reorganization: The Vice Presidency for Portfolio and Financial Management is divided into two new Vice Presidencies. Mr. Hilary P. Reddy is appointed Vice President, Finance and Resources Management; Daniel F. Adams is appointed Vice President, Portfolio Operations.

October 16, 1987—"Global Links," a six-part series of documentaries related to development issues, begins television broadcast on WETA-TV, the Washington public television station. The series was jointly produced by the World Bank and WETA

Hollis Chenery, Economic Advisor to the President, and Vice President Development Policy

October 14, 1988—"Due to a paper shortage, our suppliers have notified us that they will be unable to provide photocopy paper in the quantities required by the Bank. Since this is an industry-wide problem caused by paper demands exceeding plant capacities, it is expected to stay with us for some time. Effective immediately, all copying in the Manned Copy Centers will be done two-sided if at all practicable. Staff are also requested to do only two-sided copying in the Self-Service Copy Centers. More importantly, managers and staff are urged to be as selective as possible on the documents to be copied and the number of copies to be made. [signed] Richard B. Lynn, Director, General Services Department." For Your Information, October 14, 1988

October 18, 1990—Michael Cernea is appointed Senior Adviser, Social Policy/Sociology, in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (AGR). Cernea joined the Bank in 1974 as a Rural Sociologist, and was then promoted to Senior Rural Sociologist. Following a leave of absence (1979-1980), he re-joined the Bank as Senior Sociologist, and was later promoted to Sociology Advisor in July 1982. Cernea’s Sociology Group was greatly responsible for calling attention to cultural and other non-economic issues in the Bank’s lending criteria and operations.

October 15, 1991—IBRD, IFC, IDA, and MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Albania, which becomes the 156th member of the Bank, the 143rd member of IFC, the 140th member of IDA, and the 69th member of MIGA.

Signing of the first credit agreement to Comoros, 1978

October 15, 1991—President Lewis Preston opens the Annual Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, saying that the reduction of poverty is the "overarching objective" of the Bank. He said that unprecedented opportunities were at hand: the Cold War had ended, and political and economic liberalization was occurring in many parts of the world. The Bank Group’s experience demonstrated that development was most successful when there was an appropriate balance between the role of government and the role of the private sector. "Governments must assume those economic tasks which markets cannot; markets should be relied upon for the production and distribution of most goods and services. Striking this market-friendly balance ensures more efficient use of both private and public resources. As governments do less of what they should not be doing, they must do more of what they should be doing. And they must do it better…The decisive influence on a country’s economic performance will be the policies the government pursues and the quality of the services it provides. Those [governments] that pursue policies which permit producers and consumers to adapt to the changing world economy will flourish; those that do not, risk being left further behind." World Bank news release, October 15, 1991.

October 16, 1991—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Republic of Congo, which becomes the 70th member of MIGA.

October 16, 1992—Armenia becomes the 104th member of ICSID.

October 16, 1992—A World Bank reorganization is announced. The Vice Presidency for Sector and Operations Policy (OSP) was replaced by three new vice presidencies: Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO), headed by Armeane Choksi; Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD), headed by Jean-Francois Rischard; and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD), headed by Ismail Serageldin. All research was consolidated under the Chief Economist and Vice President for Development Economics. Regional Technical Departments were made smaller and the sector operations divisions were strengthened.

October 18, 1992—Azerbaijan becomes the 105th member of ICSID.

October 14, 1993—President Lewis Preston sends a memo to all staff urging support for the recently approved information disclosure policy. He said that accountability and transparency were essential to the development process, and that the Bank had an obligation to its shareholders, as well as an obligation to stimulate debate and broaden understanding of development issues. He cited the public perception that the Bank had been overly protective of factual information on its activities, and felt that the new disclosure policy would help ensure that a broad range of operational documents would be made available outside the Bank, thus ensuring that the excellent analytic work of the Bank would become an important source of information for the development community.

Dr. Andre LeBrun, appointed first Director of the Medical Department, 1981

October 15, 1993—First funding for Kazakhstan: Loan 3649 – Rehabilitation Loan Project. The project supported Kazakhstan's reform program; eased the shortage of a foreign exchange component required to finance critical imports of inputs, raw materials and spare parts in key sectors; and supported foreign exchange markets and allowed the private sector access to foreign exchange.

October 16, 1993—World Bank Vice President Gautam S. Kaji addresses the World Economic Forum in Hong Kong, detailing the environmental challenges confronting East Asian countries. He suggested a combination of strategies to protect and repair the environment, including: using prices and taxes to modify undesirable economic environmental behavior—"making polluters pay"; regulatory reforms; public disclosure requirements to mobilize public opinion and non-government resources; and public investments.

October 18, 1993—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Ukraine, which becomes the 162nd member of IFC.

October 19, 1993—The World Bank establishes two trust funds to provide assistance to the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The trust funds were to support emergency rehabilitation, provide technical assistance, and finance feasibility studies. The trust funds were administered by IDA.

October 19, 1994—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Lebanon, which becomes the 127th member of MIGA.

Vice President Martin Paijmans

October 18, 1995—World Bank President James Wolfensohn sends a memo to all staff giving his impressions of his first Annual Meetings as President of the World Bank. He noted that both the African governors and the Latin American governors continued to look to the Bank as an essential partner to help in capacity-building activities. He said that a joint World Bank—NGO press conference was a welcome innovation which helped both parties overcome their mutual distrust and recognize their common goals. The Development Committee was revived as a forum for substantive discussion between the Ministers from developed and developing countries. His address to the Meetings emphasized partnerships, and called for a "new compact" between the Bank, donors and recipient countries.

October 19, 1995—At a joint press conference with a regional oil company and an oil-spill contractor, the World Bank announces that 94 percent of the oil from a massive oil spill in the Komi Region of Russia has been cleaned up. The 1994 oil spill threatened to become a major environmental catastrophe. The World Bank provided a loan for $99 million and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided an additional $25 million to stabilize the oil in the spill area, continue cleanup in an environmentally appropriate way, support pipeline operations, and identify and implement measures to prevent future oil spills.

October 13, 1997—President Wolfensohn arrives in Bangladesh for his first official visit to this country. He visited education projects, family health clinics, rural villages, factories, and the Jamuna Bridge project. He met with representatives of business, NGOs, women’s groups, the media, the donor community, farmers’ groups, and government officials.

October 18, 1997—President Wolfensohn arrives in Pakistan for his first official visit to this country. During his visit, Wolfensohn met with representatives of business, NGOs, women’s groups, the media, the donor community, farmers’ groups, and government officials. He traveled to the Punjab Province, visiting NGOs providing education, other education projects, industrial projects, and rural villages.

Vice President Gautam S. Kaji

October 14, 1998—The Bank stops distribution of the Operational Manual and the Administrative Manual to staff at headquarters and some country offices, citing the fact that the manuals are available electronically through the Intranet or Lotus Notes. Certain country offices continued to receive paper copies of the manuals until that point at which they are able to access the electronic versions.

October 15, 1998—President Wolfensohn announces new measures to combat fraud and corruption including a telephone hotline, and the expansion of the mandate of the Oversight Committee on Fraud or Corruption to study all allegations of fraud or corrupt practices, both within the Bank Group or in association with Bank-financed contracts.

October 15, 1998—Ibrahim Shihata retires from position of Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank. He remained as Secretary-General of ICSID until his retirement in 2000.

October 14, 1999—President Wolfensohn issues a statement of condolence on the death of Julius Nyerere. Calling Mr. Nyerere "one of the founding fathers of modern Africa," Wolfensohn said "The example he set and the ideals he represented will remain a source of inspiration and comfort for all of us." World Bank Press Release, October 14, 1999.

October 16, 2000—A comprehensive debt reduction package for Cameroon is approved under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Total debt relief from all of Cameroon's creditors is worth around US$2 billion in nominal terms. The debt relief frees about $100 million per year for the next three years for expenditures on health care, primary education HIV/AIDS prevention, and other critical social services.

President Lewis Preston

October 17, 2000—The World Bank issues a statement on allegations of corruption by public officials in the Philippines. "The World Bank has consistently advised its member countries of the serious economic and social consequences of corruption, especially within government…In this context, the World Bank views these allegations of corruption as a serious matter, and we are concerned about their impact on the economy. We note that the Philippines is a democracy; it has a functioning legal system, a free press, an active civil society, and a constitutional procedure for responding to such allegations. We have every hope and expectation that the allegations will be quickly resolved by the mandated Philippine institutions through a due process within the legal system." World Bank press release, October 17, 2000.

October 19, 2000—President Wolfensohn is awarded the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award by Africare, a leading private, charitable organization dedicated to assisting African development.

October 15, 2001—The World Bank Security unit issues basic information for Bank staff in the event of chemical or biological attack.

October 19, 2001—The World Bank issues the 2001 World Bank Annual Report, which focused on the actions needed to scale up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline.

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

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