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This Week in World Bank History: September 8 – 14

September 13, 2002 – A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

Delegates gather at the 1947
Annual Meetings

September 11, 1947 – Second Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors convenes in London, England.

September 12, 1947 – The Second Annual Report was issued at the Annual Meetings in London. Four loans had been made, for a total of $497 million, and $250 million in Bank bonds were floated in the US capital market. The lending was concentrated in European postwar reconstruction. The Bank identified three main areas impeding recovery: the shortage of food, fuel and manpower. The report looked forward to its reconstruction and development role in other areas—Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. "Indeed it should not be very long before the financing of development projects in those areas will tend to become the primary concern of the Bank."

September 12, 1949 – G. Stewart Mason heads a mission to Turkey to examine three potential projects for financing: the construction of a dam on the Seyan River near Adana; the construction of grain storage facilities; the improvement and development of port facilities. It was the second mission to Turkey that year. (Loans for port facilities and grain storage facilities were signed in 1950. The Seyan Dam project was signed in 1952.)

September 13, 1949 – The World Bank releases its Fourth Annual Report, at the opening of the Annual Meetings in Washington DC. Eight loans were made during the year, for a total of $191.6 million. In addition, "an outstanding feature of the year under review…has been the increased attention given to the problem of economic development. There is not only the obvious need on the part of the underdeveloped countries to expand production and raise living standards. Full employment and the effective utilization of the resources of the more developed countries, too, depend largely upon a continually expanding world trade; and increased production in the underdeveloped areas is one of the principal means to this end." This reflected the Bank’s shift from a reconstruction to a development role.

President John J. McCloy (left) at the 1947 Annual Meetings in London

September 8, 1950 – The World Bank releases its Fifth Annual Report, at the opening of the Annual Meetings in Paris. During the year the Bank made 12 loans, totaling $166 million. The Executive Directors established a reserve against losses on loans and guarantees made by the Bank, and 11 additional member countries made all or part of the 18 percent portion of their capital subscription available for use. (Under the Articles of Agreement, of the total capital subscription made to the Bank by a member nation, 2 percent is paid to the Bank’s account in gold or US dollars and is immediately available for lending. Another 18 percent is paid in the currency of the member country, and can be used for loans only with the consent of that country. The remaining 80 percent is subject to call when required to meet the obligations of the Bank.) The report also reflected the relative youth of the Bank, as a major portion was devoted to the evolving policies of the Bank, related to specific project lending, local currency expenditures, Bank "investigations" (i.e. project appraisal), loan charges, loans to private enterprises, currency problems, and ongoing relationships with borrowing countries.

September 10, 1950 – The World Bank, IMF, and the Statistical Office of the United Nations announce the publication of the first issue of Direction of International Trade, a monthly bulletin which reported detailed figures on trade in 92 countries. The publication provided (for the first time) a comprehensive and current source of information on world trade. "For the purpose of the new publication, all countries have been asked to send their trade country-by-country statistics as rapidly as possible to the International Monetary Fund. The Fund and the International Bank process these returns and produce the data for the bulletin by machine tabulation. Printing and distribution are undertaken by the Statistical Office of the United Nations." (The publication ceased in January 1963.) World Bank Press Release, September 10, 1950.

September 13, 1950 – Robert L. Garner visited Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark (first visit by ranking Bank officer to these countries).

September 13, 1950 – First funding for Ethiopia: Loan 0031 Highway Project (01) – $5 million for rehabilitation and maintenance of road system, and Loan 0032 – Development Bank Project for $2 million for new development bank (first loan to Africa, first development bank loan).

Road in Ethiopia in need of repair (1950)

September 14, 1950 – Iceland and Norway approve the use of their paid-in currency for lending purposes by the Bank. These countries’ agreement that all or part of their 18 percent subscription could be used for lending purposes enhanced the Bank’s ability to make development loans.

September 10, 1951 – Sixth Annual Meeting opens at the Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC.

September 13, 1951 – First funding for Democratic Republic of Congo: Loan 0047 – Belgium Congo Development Plan Project. Loans announced of $40 million to Belgian Congo and $30 million to the Kingdom of Belgium. The loans are to carry out a 10-year development plan of the Belgian Congo (first "impact" loan.) The loans will increase production of agricultural products and metals which the Congo exports. The Congo’s mineral resources – including cobalt, diamonds, tin, copper and uranium – were believed to be among the richest in Africa. Agricultural products included vegetable oils, oil bearing nuts, cotton, coffee and copal.

September 8, 1953 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Haiti, which becomes the 55th member of the Bank.

September 8, 1953 – "The Secretary of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development announces that the Executive Directors have selected Eugene R. Black as President of the Bank for a further five-year term that runs to July 1, 1959." World Bank Press Release, September 8, 1953.

September 9, 1953 – Eighth Annual Meeting opens at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington.

September 21, 1954 – First sale of dollar bond issue entirely outside the US is announced.

Heavy equipment levels a road near Adolla while young Ethiopians watch. (1950)

September 10, 1955 – The World Bank issues its 10th Annual Report. During the year the Bank made loans totaling $410 million. Two-thirds of the lending was for transportation and electric power ($160 million and $110 million respectively); one-sixth of the total ($67 million) was for agriculture, and the remaining $72 million was for industrial projects or other development purposes. The Bank’s role in advisory services increased, with general survey missions to Nigeria, Malaya, and Syria and Jordan taking place during the year. The Bank continued to assist India and Pakistan in discussions over the use of the Indus Rivers system, and plans were completed for the establishment of the Economic Development Institute. Progress was made on the organization of the International Finance Corporation.

September 12, 1955 – Tenth annual meeting opens at University of Istanbul, Turkey.

September 11, 1957 – IFC makes first investment in a non-manufacturing enterprise: $600,000 in Bristol de Mexico.

September 11, 1958 – IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Ireland, which becomes the 56th member of IFC.

September 11, 1959 – The report of the general survey mission to Thailand is published: A Public Development Program for Thailand. The report was written to help the government plan its contribution to the economic and social development of the country and to advise on the forms of organization which are likely to be most effective in fostering those developments. The book made a thorough analysis of Thailand's economy and its potential for future growth. It also recommended action for the efficient use of present resources and the greatest possible economic development over the next few years. Suggestions were also made on certain policies which the Thailand Government should follow in order to give maximum assistance to the development process.

Bridges were repaired as part of the World Bank’s loan to Ethiopia (1950)

September 9, 1960 – First funding for Israel: Loan 0265 – Port of Ashdod Project.

September 8, 1961 – IFC makes its first investment in development banks: $2 million each in two Colombian financieras.

September 10, 1962 – IBRD and IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Sierra Leone, which becomes the 79th member of the Bank and the 69th member of IFC.

September 10, 1962 – IBRD and IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Tanganyika (Tanzania), which becomes the 80th member of the Bank and the 70th member of IFC.

September 13, 1962 – IBRD, IFC, and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Kuwait, which becomes the 81st member of the Bank, the 71st member of IFC, and the 67th member of IDA.

September 10, 1963 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Gabon, which becomes the 91st member of the Bank.

September 10, 1963 – IBRD and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Mauritania, which becomes the 92nd member of the Bank and the 78th member of IDA.

September 10, 1967 – Togo becomes the 33rd member of ICSID.

September 10, 1969 – The World Bank announces the appointment of Dr. Alfred Koch as the director of its newly-formed Tourism Projects Department.

September 9, 1970 – The World Bank approves a $30 million reconstruction loan to Peru for road improvement in areas affected by the recent earthquake.

Four Presidents at the 1951 Annual Meetings: Eugene Black (left) meets with US President Truman (center). To the right of Mr. Black can be seen former Bank President McCloy. To the right of Mr. Truman can be seen former Bank President Meyer

September 10, 1970 – The World Bank issues its 1970 Annual Report. The year was the second in a row to significantly reflect President McNamara’s desire to double the amount of lending by the Bank. Bank/IDA commitments were (in millions): Transportation – $661; Public utilities – $654; Agriculture – $413; Industry – $293; and Education – $80. Technical assistance activities also increased significantly, and the year saw the completion of the Pearson Commission report Partners in Development.

September 14, 1971 – The World Bank issues its 1971 Annual Report. Highlights of the year included: and accelerated effort in agricultural development and provision of support for the first time to agricultural research, including the Bank’s sponsorship of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which held its inaugural meeting on May 14, 1971; a broadened approach to educational development; the first loan specifically for pollution control (a Sao Paolo, Brazil sewerage facilities project); new research studies on urbanization and unemployment.

September 14, 1971 – The World Bank issues an Education    sector working paper listing problems in the education sector in the developing world and outlining Bank strategy to deal with these problems. This was the first of the sector working papers series issued by the Bank. Future issues in the series would include papers on agriculture, power, transportation and population. The reports were produced for internal use, but considerable interest was expressed outside the Bank, and thus the working papers were made generally available to the public.

September 12, 1974 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Barbados, which becomes the 125th member of the Bank.

September 10, 1977 – Fiji becomes the 67th member of ICSID.

Spouses at the 1951 Annual Meetings, Washington, D.C.

September 10, 1977 – First funding for The Bahamas: Loan 1320 Water Supply and Sewerage Project. The principal components of the project were: expansion of the water supply of New Providence Island, rehabilitation of the existing sanitary sewerage system in the city of Nassau, construction of a new sewer line to Prince George's Wharf in Nassau Harbor, and technical assistance for a training unit to be established by the borrower.

September 14, 1978 – The World Bank releases its 1978 Annual Report. The report said that economic growth in developing countries outpaced that in the industrialized world, yet inadequate food production and massive rural poverty remains a continuing feature in the Bank’s member countries. The report stated that trade expansion would be the most important contribution by the industrialized countries, and feared that new trade restrictions may be seen in the future, thus harming the prospects of the developing countries. In addition to trade, agricultural production needed to expand faster than population. Closer international relationships between the industrialized world and the developing nations were essential if there was to hope of improvement.

September 14, 1981 – John E. Merriam, Director Information and Public Affairs, retires from the Bank. He joined the Bank in 1971. He was replaced by Frank Vogl, November 2, 1981.

September 8, 1982 – Legislative delays in approval of the US contributions to sixth IDA replenishment lead other IDA donors to agree to provide special contributions in an amount equal to one third of their total contributions to IDA’s sixth replenishment.

September 8, 1982 – Publication of IDA in Retrospect: The First Two Decades of the International Development Association. The study was commissioned to garner support for IDA.

September 13, 1985 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Tonga, which becomes the 149th member of the Bank.

September 12, 1986 – Japan signs the Convention Establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, raising the number of prospective members to 40.

Construction of a deepwater port at Ashod on the Mediterranean in
Israel (1960)

September 8, 1988 – President Conable pledges assistance to Mr. Hussain M. Ershad, President of Bangladesh, for reconstruction following recent floods in that country. "I was greatly saddened to learn of the catastrophic floods which have hit Bangladesh in the last few days and resulted in such tragic loss of life and devastation to crops and infrastructure. On behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, I would like to convey to you and the people of Bangladesh our deepest sympathy at the suffering caused by this disaster. Let me assure you, Mr. President, that the World Bank stands ready to provide assistance to Bangladesh to help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the flood-damaged economy." World Bank Press Rrelease, September 8, 1988.

September 14, 1988 – Kenneth Piddington, Director of the Bank’s Environment Department, addresses the International Institute for Environment and Development – North America. He says that "environment is moving to the top of the international agenda," and sees that a new multilateral environmental effort is possible if governments are willing and consensus can be built.

September 11, 1989 – President Conable address a conference on "Global Environment and Human Response Towards Sustainable Development" in Tokyo, saying that the linkage between environmental degradation, poverty, unchecked population growth, and underdevelopment must be broken, and commits the Bank to bringing economic development and environmental protection into harmony. "Developing countries are sometimes advised that they should not replicate the environmentally unsound policies and practices of the industrialized world. But unless such advice is accompanied by viable alternatives it will imply that developing countries should stagnate in the interest of environmental protection. The world’s richer nations, for their part, would be free to maintain industry-based wealth and to engage in environmental depredation. These are unacceptable options. Developing countries cannot be excluded from change. Industrialized countries cannot forever despoil the environment." Conable pledged that the Bank would continue its work on population growth, greenhouse gases, the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), tropical forestry and free-standing environmental projects. World Bank Press Release, September 11, 1989.

An aerial view of the main breakwater and the temporary harbor under construction at Ashdod (1960)

September 10, 1990 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which becomes the 59th member of MIGA.

September 12, 1990 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Malta, which becomes the 60th member of MIGA.

September 10, 1991 – The Republic of Estonia applies for membership in IBRD. (Estonia became a member of IBRD on June 23, 1992).

September 13. 1991 – The Republic of Lithuania applies for membership in IBRD. (Lithuania became a member of IBRD on July 6, 1992.)

September 8, 1992 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Mauritania, which becomes the 87th member of MIGA.

The first commercial vessel docks at the new port of Ashdod, Israel (1960)

September 10, 1992 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Romania, which becomes the 88th member of MIGA.

September 11, 1992 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by The Gambia, which becomes the 89th member of MIGA.

September 8, 1993 – Peru becomes the 110th member of ICSID.

September 10, 1993 – The World Bank issues Developing the Occupied Territories: An Investment in Peace, an assessment of the economies of the West Bank and Gaza strip. The report estimated that $3 billion would be needed over the next 10 years to improve living conditions and to stimulate private sector investment. In the early years, investment should concentrate on the rehabilitation and upgrading of public infrastructure and services in water supply, sewerage, solid waste, road transport, electricity, education, and health. Later priorities include power generation, expansion of health, education and transport facilities, the modernization of educational curriculum and the strengthening of universities.

September 8, 1994 – The Executive Directors approve recommendations for mainstream guarantees as new operational tools for the Bank.

Aron Broches (1964 photo)

September 8, 1995 – Vice Presidents announce the establishment of two Bank-wide working groups on Change Agenda: one to focus on the issue of professional excellence and the other on how to develop a culture of client responsiveness, results, and accountability.

September 10, 1996 – President James D. Wolfensohn promises to continue strong support to the Palestinian people, pledging continued Bank assistance toward employment-generating projects.

September 10, 1996 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Eritrea, which becomes the 137th member of MIGA.

September 8, 1997 – World Bank President Wolfensohn addresses the 8th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Lima, Peru, urging greater transparency, accountability and integrity in public affairs. "There is nothing complicated about our interest in corruption," he said. "Corruption mainly affects the poor, and only if we reduce corruption will we have an effect on poverty alleviation, which is the Bank’s mission."

September 10, 1997 – Debt relief package for Bolivia is approved by World Bank under the HIPC initiative.

September 12, 1997 – The World Bank’s independent Inspection Panel agrees to an investigation of the NTPC Power Generation project in India on behalf of citizens in the project area who claimed damage due to resettlement.

Sierra Leone joining the Bank, IDA, and IFC (1962)

September 12, 1997 – The World Bank announces the death of Aron Broches, former Vice President and General Counsel of the Bank. Mr. Broches was one of the "fathers" of the World Bank, serving in the Netherlands delegation at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. He joined the Bank’s Legal Department soon after the Bank’s opening and served as Department Director, General Counsel and Vice President until his retirement in 1979. Broches played a prominent role in laying the legal foundations for the operations of the Bank. He was also instrumental in the establishment of ICSID – the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. He formulated the ICSID Convention, served as Secretary-General of ICSID for 13 years, and started its investment law research and publications program.

September 8, 1999 – The World Bank sponsors National Literacy Day at its Washington headquarters. The day-long event was to raise literacy awareness, enhance dialogue for global partnership, launch the World Bank Education Sector Strategy, and announce the Bank’s involvement in adding a new impetus to the Education for All (EFA) initiative.

September 9, 1999 – World Bank Executive Directors formally request the Inspection Panel to undertake an investigation of the China Western Poverty Reduction Project to see whether Bank management had observed its policies on involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and environmental assessment.

Tanganyika (Tanzania) joining the Bank and IFC (1962)

September 14, 1999 – The World Bank presents a Strategic Action Plan for dealing with AIDS in Intensifying Action Against HIV/AIDS in Africa: Responding to a Development Crisis. The report portrays AIDS advocacy as a central development issue, and calls for increased resources, technical support, and education.

September 8, 2000 – Uruguay becomes the 132nd member of ICSID.

September 8, 2000 – MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by the Central African Republic, which becomes the 153rd member of MIGA.

September 12, 2000 – The World Bank releases its 2000/2001 World Development Report: Attacking Poverty. More than two years in the making, the report drew upon a large volume of research, including the ground-breaking study, Voices of the Poor, which sought the personal accounts of more than 60,000 people living in poverty in 60 countries. In addition, the report’s authors conducted extensive research and consultation with a wide variety of development partners. An on-line discussion of an early draft of the reports produced hundreds of responses from 44 countries.

September 12, 2000 – The World Bank approves a Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP) for Africa, representing a commitment by the institution to strengthen the response to the epidemic. The Board of Directors agreed to an initial amount of US$500 million in flexible and rapid funding over the next three years, to consist of several projects to fight the epidemic in Sub-Saharan African countries. The funds were to be committed to individual HIV/AIDS projects developed by countries, using standard IDA credit agreements.

September 12, 2000 – The World Bank pledges to significantly increase its support for HIV/AIDS activities in Caribbean countries and plans to request the approval of US$85-$100 million in loans and credits for HIV/AIDS programs in the region. The plan of support was announced at the Caribbean Conference on HIV/AIDS, a high level meeting of country delegations and international organizations, cosponsored by the Government of Barbados, CARICOM, PAHO/WHO, UNAIDS and the World Bank.

Kuwait joining the Bank, IDA and IFC (1962)

September 12, 2000 – The World Bank Group determines that Mali is eligible to begin receiving irrevocably $220 million in debt service relief under the original Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In addition, Mali has qualified for additional assistance under the enhanced framework (adopted in September 1999) amounting to $650 million in debt service relief over time ($401 million in NPV terms).

September 11, 2001 – "In light of increased security concerns, headquarters staff are advised that they may leave work for the day. Please be further advised that we are aware of no apparent threat to the Bank. However, as a precaution, security around and within the Bank is being increased…Please be careful going home." Internal Communications, 10:18 a.m., September 11, 2001, following the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.

September 12, 2001 – President Wolfensohn made the following statement: "On behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, Management, and staff of the World Bank Group, I wish to express our shock and deep sorrow at the tragic events that occurred in the United States on September 11th. We express our deepest sympathy and solidarity with the American people, and the United States authorities, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of all who were killed or injured in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania." World Bank Press Release, September 12, 2001.

Mauritania joining the Bank and
IDA (1962)

September 12, 2001 – "The Headquarters Mail Center has been informed by the contractor handling the Bank Group’s courier and pouch services that there is a 48 hour transatlantic cargo ban in effect decreed by the US Federal Aviation Administration. This will obviously result in some disruption of the pouch and courier services. Staff should also be prepared for possible disruption to domestic courier service." KIOSK Announcement, September 12, 2001.

September 14, 2001 – Staff gather in the MC Atrium for a Minute of Silence to commemorate the events of September 11.

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

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