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This Week in World Bank History: October 6 – 12

October 8, 2002—A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

A farmer looks at the newly constructed irrigation system in Southern Italy, 1951

October 6, 1949—Mr. Harold F. Johnson, a special representative of IBRD, arrives in Turkey to study the Turkish economy with a view to encouraging the growth of private capital investment. Johnson visited the principal industrial and commercial centers of the country, and met with business and investment leaders.

October 11, 1949—The World Bank sends a general economic and financial mission to Brazil. The mission was headed by Richard Demuth, and the group remained in Brazil for four weeks. The purpose of the mission was to study general economic and financial conditions in the country, to evaluate the relative priorities of the government’s development projects, and to gather general data on the projects proposed for Bank financing.

October 10, 1951—First funding for Italy: Loan 0050 – Equipment for Development Project. Loan of $10 million made to Cassa per il Mezzogiorno of Italy (another of the Bank’s "impact" loans.) The purpose of the loan was to develop the land of southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia and Elba, to employ unused manpower, and to create a sound basis for industrialization. About one-half of the project funds were for reclamation and irrigation of land along the coast and in the river valleys, for reforestation of mountain areas, and for farm improvements. One-quarter of the project expense was to finance the settlement of land distributed under Italy’s land reform program, while the rest of the funds were used for the construction of aqueducts, the construction and rehabilitation of provincial roads, and to develop tourist facilities.

Terracing hillsides was part of Loan 0050 to Italy, 1951

October 9, 1952—World Bank announces three missions to be sent to Africa. A mission to South Africa consisted of D. Crena de Iongh, Andrew Kamarck, and John H. Collier. A mission to the Gold Coast, consisting of Benjamin B. King, was the Bank’s first mission to West Africa. A mission to East Africa consisted of Michael LeJeune and J. H. Williams.

October 7, 1958—Annual meetings convene at the Vigyan Bhavan Palace in New Delhi. The Bank released its Thirteenth Annual Report, which indicated record levels of lending and borrowing. Thirty-four loans were made during the year, for a total of $711 million; the Bank raised $650 million through the sale of bonds and notes to investors. The Bank assisted in the negotiations for the nationalization of the Suez Canal, and in the negotiations between India and Pakistan on the sharing of the waters of the Indus Basin. In addition, the Bank undertook a study of a nuclear power plant to be constructed in Southern Italy as part of the Government’s atomic power program.

October 6. 1959—Robert W. Cavanaugh is appointed Treasurer of Bank, succeeding the late Henry W. Riley. Mr. Cavanaugh joined the Bank in 1947.

Irrigation water is brought to previously dry fields in Southern Italy, 1951

October 12, 1959—The report of an agricultural survey mission to Peru is published.

October 10. 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement signed by Iran, becoming the 17th member of IDA.

October 12, 1960—IDA Articles of Agreement signed by South Africa, becoming the 18th member of IDA.

October 4, 1962—A general salary increase is approved for the staff of the Bank. Salary rates of professional staff members were raised approximately 12 – 15%. A new scale for non-professional staff was adopted, providing increases of about 7 – 10%. The salary supplement was increased to $500 a year for spouse and $200 a year for dependents.

Mining operations were funded by Loan 0050 to Italy, 1951

October 11, 1962—Vice President Sir William Iliff addresses the Empire Club of Canada, summarizing his fifteen years at the World Bank. He discussed the transition from reconstruction to development lending, and the growth of the Bank’s advisory role. He stated that the greatest problem in development was not the lack of funding, but the lack of skills necessary to carry out development programs. He traced the evolution of the Bank’s use of economic survey missions and the technical assistance activities. "I often think that the loans of the Bank, impressively large as they are, are only the small part of the iceberg which shows above the surface. Probably most of the efforts of the staff of the Bank are devoted to giving expert assistance of one kind or another to our member governments in their development problems." Iliff discussed the Bank’s role as a mediator in international disputes, and the role of IFC and IDA in meeting the development needs of their member countries. World Bank Press Release, October 11, 1962.

October 6, 1963—"On Sunday, October 6, the second annual cricket match between the World Bank and the British Embassy was played on the Polo Field in West Potomac Park. The weather was perfect and the crowd, although kept down the by the World Series and the Redskins-Giants game, was respectable…After tea, admirably prepared and served by Nanette Criper (Office of Executive Directors) and various Bank and Embassy wives, the World Bank took the field…By 5:30 the Embassy had obtained the necessary runs with six wickets in hand." International Bank Notes, November, 1963.

Manufacturing plant financed by Loan 0050 to Italy, 1951

October 9, 1963—"The prices of meals in the dining room have remained unchanged for more than 10 years. During this period the cost of food, labor and supplies has risen sharply, and the prices of meals in restaurants outside the Bank also have increased. Accordingly, after consultation with the Dining Room Committee, a change has been agreed upon, and effective Monday, October 14, the price of the regular luncheon will be raised to $2.25 and that of the special (sandwich) luncheon will be raised to $1.50. [signed] William F. Howell, Director of Administration." Administrative Circular, October 9, 1963.

October 10, 1968—First funding for Togo: Credit 0131 - Road Project (01). The project financed a four-year (1969-72) highway maintenance program, and feasibility studies for about 450 kilometers of secondary roads, with subsequent detailed engineering for about 300 kilometers of high priority roads.

October 3, 1969—IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by The People’s Republic of South Yemen, which became the 112th member of the Bank.

October 9, 1970—IDA Articles of Agreement signed by People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, becoming the 107th member of IDA.

South Africa becomes a member of IDA, 1960. Vice President J. Burke Knapp is seated at the right

October 19, 1972—The World Bank opens a regional mission in Bangkok, Thailand, serving Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, the Khmer Republic, and the Republic of Viet-Nam. The Chief of Mission was Manfred G. Blobel. The mission also served as the liaison point for the Bank’s work in the Mekong Basin.

October 19, 1974—World Bank publishes Chad: Development Potential and Constraints, the latest in a series of economic reports made available to the general public. The report was the end result of a Bank economic survey mission headed by Richard Westebbe. The report was available for purchase at the cost of $3.00.

October 9, 1975—IBRD, IFC and Articles of Agreement signed by Papua New Guinea, becoming the 127th member of the Bank, the 103rd member of IFC, and the 116th member of IDA.

October 12, 1975—Romania becomes the 66th member of ICSID.

October 8, 1981—Solomon Islands becomes the 80th member of ICSID.

Vice President Sir William Iliff addresses an audience

October 7, 1982—World Bank announces that Shirley Boskey, Director of the International Relations Department, will retire from the Bank in January 1983 after 29 years of service with the Bank. Ms. Boskey was succeeded by Mr. Shahid Javed Burki.

October 8, 1985—At the World Bank and IMF annual general meetings in Seoul, President Clausen reaffirms his decision to not accept a second term as Bank President. Also, US Secretary of the Treasury James A. Baker suggested a new strategy for the major indebted countries, calling for increased lending by the World Bank and commercial banks.

October 8, 1986—Barber Conable announces a review of the organization of the Bank. "I am writing to you about a subject which has generated much staff speculation and some anxiety – a review of the organization of the World Bank…It is important that we take stock of ourselves, that we determine whether the Bank is appropriately organized to meet the challenges of a changing global environment…The Bank’s current structure was established more than a decade ago, when this was a smaller institution and the issues confronting the developing world were very different. A new look at our organization is therefore not only timely but essential…Basic responsibility for reorganization of the Bank’s structure is soundly vested in the staff itself. Changes, if they are to be effective, should evolve from a process which utilizes the knowledge and experience of those who will have to live with them. Professional guidance should assist, not replace, staff review. Moreover, the process must not be a disruptive one; the Bank’s essential work programs must be maintained." Barber B. Conable, Memo to staff, October 8, 1986. Professional management consultants were hired, a Steering Committee was appointed, and the reorganization took place in 1987, consuming the attention of most staff for most of the year.

World Bank cricket club players advance for a match

October 10, 1986—Powerful earthquakes hit San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, leaving 1,500 people dead, 10,000 injured, and 300,000 homeless. World Bank provided funding in September 1987 for reconstruction efforts.

October 9, 1987—The Bank announces that the Federal Republic of Germany and The Netherlands have ratified the Convention Establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). This brought the number of countries ratifying the Convention to 19; twenty country ratifications were required for the Convention to enter into force. (MIGA came into existence when ratified by the United Kingdom in April, 1988).

October 7, 1988—MIGA Articles of Agreement signed by Cameroon, becoming the 45th member of MIGA.

October 12, 1988—President Barber Conable sends a memo to staff describing the recent Annual Meetings in Berlin. He said that the battle against poverty remained the primary focus, but that there was a good deal of discussion about environment, education, population growth and the private sector. The debt question demanded solutions adapted to regional situations and the performance of debtor countries. He mentioned the protest activities in Berlin, but stated that the protests could not dissuade the Bank from pursuing its goals.

Attentive audience at a cricket match

October 6, 1989—Information, Technology and Facilities Department (ITF) institutes a Bank-wide recycling program in which food facilities and restroom trash are separated from office trash, with the goal of recycling office paper.

October 7, 1991—MIGA Articles of Agreement signed by Dominica, becoming the 68th member of MIGA.

October 12, 1994—Managing Director Attila Karaosmanoglu announces his retirement, effective November 30, 1994. Mr. Karaosmanoglu joined the Bank in 1966 as an economist, and was eventually appointed Chief Economist for Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA) Region. He served as Director of the Development Policy Staff, and then Director of the EMENA Programs Department. He was then appointed Vice President East Asia and Pacific Region, and later Vice President of the Asia Region. He became Managing Director in 1991.

Signing the agreement for Togo Credit 0131, 1968

October 12, 1994—President Lewis Preston announces that Mr. Gautam Kaji will replace Attila Karaosmanoglu as Managing Director, effective December 1, 1994. Mr. Kaji joined the Bank in 1966 as a Young Professional. He served as Resident Representative, Senior Loan Officer, and Division Chief in various regional offices before becoming Director of the Personnel Management Department. He was appointed Director of East Asia and Pacific Region Country Programs Department, then Director of Country Department II, Asia Region. He was appointed Vice President East Asia and Pacific Region in 1991.

October 7, 1995—World Bank announced that it would open an office in Brussels to improve its coordination with the European Union and the Benelux countries.

Manfred G. Blobel, Chief of Regional Mission in Bangkok, 1972

October 10, 1995—IBRD Articles of Agreements signed by Brunei Darussalam, becoming the 180th member of IBRD.

October 10, 1995—Annual Meetings begin in Washington. President Wolfensohn emphasizes partnerships, and calls for a new "compact" between the Bank, donors, and recipient countries.

October 11, 1995—IFC Articles of Agreement signed by Azerbaijan Republic, becoming the 168th member of IFC.

October 11, 1995—IFC Articles of Agreement signed by Eritrea, becoming the 169th member of IFC.

October 8, 1996—World Bank announces that Alternate Work Schedules (AWS) will be adopted as an option for staff.

October 9, 1996—President Wolfensohn begins his first trip to the South Asia region, visiting Nepal and India. During the trip Wolfensohn met with representatives of business , NGOs, women’s groups, the media, the donor community, farmers’ groups and government. The visit included tours of the Bhairawa Lumbini ground water irrigation project in Nepal, housing and sanitation projects in India, population projects and AIDS projects in India, as well as information technology projects in India.

South Yemen becomes a member of IDA, 1970. Secretary Morton Mendels is standing

October 6, 1997—World Bank’s Fifth Conference on Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development opens in Washington.

October 9, 1997—President Wolfensohn begins his second trip to the South Asia region, visiting Bangladesh and Pakistan.

October 6, 1998—President Wolfensohn opens the 1998 Annual Meetings in Washington, warning that financial reforms are not sufficient, and that human needs and social justice must also be sought.

October 8, 1999—President Wolfensohn sends message to staff describing the results of the Annual Meetings. He announced the strategic agenda, which included a new compact between donors, investors and recipients; the need for a broader approach to development, integrating the social, cultural and institutional issues that underlie sustainable development; the need for a global partnership which will transform the Bank into a Knowledge Bank; and the revitalization of the World Bank Group.

Shirley Boskey, Director of International Relations Department

October 8, 1999—President Wolfensohn attends the Ninth International Anti-Corruption Conference in Durban, South Africa, highlighting the Bank’s support for anti-corruption activities.

October 12, 1999—UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan addresses Bank staff in the Preston Auditorium. It was the first visit by a UN Secretary-General to the World Bank.

October 6, 2000—President Wolfensohn visits Ukraine, meeting with NGOs related to HIV/AIDS, participants in the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) discussions, information technology and trade organizations, and government officials.

October 11, 2000—President Wolfensohn presents a Special Presidential Award to Bruce Benton (AFTF3) for his commitment to the elimination of river blindness in Africa. Since 1985, Benton was intensively involved with the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP) and its successor African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). The Bank’s involvement in the Riverblindness campaign began in 1973.

October 8, 2001—GSD Security issues travel advisories related to the beginning of hostilities in Afghanistan.

President Barber Conable

October 10, 2001—Joseph Stiglitz is awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Stiglitz was the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President from February 1997 to January 2000. His contributions to the Bank’s research and operational agenda included opening up several new and important areas of research, critically re-examining the role of the State, emphasizing the centrality of knowledge and information in development, and producing a thorough assessment of the forces of globalization, urbanization and localization. President Wolfensohn remarked: "The Nobel Prize is richly deserved. Joe has made an enormous contribution to economic thinking and we are all delighted for him…Joe has been an important and strong voice for the interests of developing countries and especially for the poor." World Bank press release, October 10, 2001.

October 12, 2001—Managing Director Sven Sandstrom announces his retirement from the Bank after nearly 30 years of service. Sandstrom joined the Bank in 1972 as a project analyst in the transport, water and sanitation, and urban development sectors. He then served in the Asia and East Asia Projects Departments, later becoming Director of offices in the Africa Region. He was Director of the Office of the President before becoming Managing Director in 1991.

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

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