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This Week in World Bank History: September 1 – 7

September 6, 2002 – A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

President McNamara and Bernard Bell (far right) discuss rice cultivation and the need to rehabilitate the irrigation systems with Mr. Teyeb, Minister of Agriculture, and other Indonesian officials (1970)

September 1, 1947 – "The Bank’s Group Health program, which was announced in Mr. Garner’s memorandum of August 6, became effective as of Monday September 1. The Health Room in this building, Room 218, will open on Monday morning, September 8, and appointments with Group Health should, beginning that day, be made through the nurse on duty… William F. Howell, Acting Director of Administration." Administrative Circular # 10, September 1, 1947.

September 7, 1950 – Fifth annual Governors meeting opens at the Annex of the Bank of France in Paris.

September 2, 1952 – Recommendations for the economic development of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were published. The recommendations were a result of a survey mission sent to Ceylon in September 1951, headed by Sir Sydney Caine. The mission report stated that Ceylon’s resources in land, materials, and money were sufficient to meet the needs of the growing population, to improve the standard of living, and to add permanent strength to the economy. A Six-Year Development Program was recommended.

September 5, 1952 – Seventh Annual Meetings open at Del Prado Hotel in Mexico City.

September 5, 1957 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Sudan, which becomes the 63rd member of the Bank. The Articles of Agreement were signed by His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim Anis, Ambassador for the Sudan in Washington.

September 6, 1957 – IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Cuba, which becomes the 51st member of IFC.

September 1, 1961 – IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Panama, which becomes the 54th member of IDA.

Seventh Annual Meetings, Mexico City, 1952. Vice President Garner is at far left, President Eugene Black is seated next to him. Morton Mendels, Secretary is seated second from the right

September 5 , 1961 – The adoption of amendment to IFC Articles of Agreement allowing the Corporation to make equity investments is announced. According to the original Articles of Agreement, IFC was forbidden to make equity investments. It became apparent that this denied the kind of capital needed by emerging enterprises in the developing countries. Once the amendment allowing equity investments was passed, IFC’s approvals for the next five years doubled the annual volume of its first five years, and then tripled the original volume in the following five years.

September 6, 1961 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Nepal, which becomes the 71st member of the Bank. The Articles of Agreement were signed by the Ambassador, His Excellency Matrika Prasad Koirala.

September 4, 1962 – IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Togo, which becomes the 68th member of IFC.

September 4, 1962 – The World Bank announces that it will send a resident representative to Ghana, at the request of the Government of Ghana. Dr. Leon Baranski was appointed to the position. Dr. Baranski was formerly the first Managing Director of the Ethiopian Development Bank and then served in senior advisory positions in Indonesia and the Sudan. He served in the Bank’s Development Advisory Service before being appointed to the Ghana post.

September 6, 1963 – First funding for Malta: Loan 0351 – Power and Water Distillation Project. The loan was for $7.5 million, and consisted of the construction of a 25,000 kilowatt power station and a water distillation plant with a capacity of one million imperial gallons a day.

September 7, 1964 – Annual meetings convene in Tokyo.

Panama becomes a member of
IDA, 1961

September 7, 1964 – The IBRD/IDA/IFC Annual reports for 1963-1964 are released in conjunction with the Annual Meetings in Tokyo. IBRD/IDA/IFC loan commitments surpassed the $1 billion mark for the second time in Bank history. There were a total of 37 Bank loans and 18 IDA credits in 34 countries; Asia and the Middle East accounted for $527 million, the Western Hemisphere accounted for $269 million, Europe $145 million, Africa $111 million, and Australasia $40 million. Transportation was the sector with the largest amounts of loans and credits, followed by electric power, industry, water supply, agriculture, telecommunications and education. IFC commitment amounted to $20.8 million, which continued to be heavily invested in industrial finance companies.

September 1, 1965 – ICSID announces that three governments have become signatories to the Convention during August 1965: Niger (August 23), Central African Republic (August 26), and the United States of America (August 27). This brought the number of signatories to the Convention to 10. The Convention became effective upon the signature and ratification of 20 states. (The Convention came into force on October 20, 1966. The 20 original members were Nigeria, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Gabon, Uganda, United States, Tunisia, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Iceland, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Malawi, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, Madagascar, Jamaica, Netherlands.)

September 4, 1968 – IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Singapore, which becomes the 89th member of IFC.

September 4, 1968 – UNDP and the World Bank announce that they will conduct a joint transportation survey in the Philippines. The Philippines consisted of a land area of 115,000 square miles, spread over more than 7,000 islands, of which about 400 are inhabited. The transportation network comprised roads, railroads, international and domestic air routes, and numerous inter-island shipping routes, serving over 350 ports.

Nepal becomes a member of
IBRD, 1961

September 6, 1968 – First funding for Indonesia: Credit 0127 – Irrigation and Rehabilitation Project. The project included the rehabilitation of three irrigation systems in Java and the completion of new irrigation system in South Sumatra with a total area of about 198,000 hectares, and the preparation of a further project for irrigation rehabilitation in other areas.

September 6, 1968 – Mr. Lester Pearson, head of the Commission on International Development (authorized by the World Bank) announces the appointment of Edward K. Hamilton as the Executive Secretary and Staff Director.

September 2, 1970 – The Operations Evaluation Unit is established to evaluate Bank Group operations. It was established within the Programming and Budgeting Department, and was headed by John Adler, Director of PBD, with responsibility for evaluating the contribution of the Bank’s operations to the development of member countries. The unit comprised about five professionals, with an extensive use of consultants from outside the Bank and staff support from the Development Services Department, the Economics Department, and the Economic Development Institute. (The Operations Evaluation Department was established as a separate department in July 1973.)

September 5, 1972 World Bank Operations: Sectoral Problems and Policies is published by Johns Hopkins Press. The publication analyzed the Bank’s experiences in member countries in the areas of agriculture, industry, transportation, telecommunications, electric power, water supply and sewerage, education, population planning, tourism, and urbanization. As a result of these studies, the Bank said that agricultural lending would continue to receive a high priority, with emphasis on projects which would increase exports and employment and improve the distribution of income; that industrial growth had not solved rampant unemployment; that the need for rural feeder roads and urban congestion would require the attention of transportation experts for the next few years; that telecommunications gaps between rich and poor nations were continuing to widen; that a negative bias by many governments had hindered the development of water supply and sewerage systems; and that with maximum effort to reduce fertility, the population of less developed member countries could level off at 6.7 billion in the next 100 years.

Dr. Leon Baranski, appointed resident representative to Ghana, 1962

September 5, 1973 – A detailed plan of action to control river blindness in the Volta River Basin is first presented to the seven African governments; Dahomey, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Togo and upper Volta. The plan was the result of an intensive period of work undertaken by the joint efforts of the World Bank, UNDP, FAO, and WHO. Epidemiological investigations were done by WHO, the economic and sociological investigations conducted by FAO. The whole undertaking was financed by UNDP, and the World Bank was entrusted with the task of mobilizing worldwide resources to finance the 20-year $120 million campaign. The entire project was the brainchild of President McNamara who had been appalled at the effects of the disease that he witnessed during a tour of the affected nations.

September 1, 1974 – Ladislaus von Hoffmann becomes Executive Vice President of IFC.

September 1, 1975 – President McNamara focused on urban poverty in his address to the Board of Governors at the Annual Meetings. He stressed the critical need of capital by oil-importing developing countries, re-emphasizing the central issue of development and the problem of poverty. He stated that what was critical was a strategy that attacked absolute poverty and substantially reduced income inequalities through measures specifically designed to increase the productivity of the poor. While his Nairobi speech in 1973 had attacked rural poverty, he now concentrated on urban poverty, stating "the central task of development is the reduction and ultimately the elimination of absolute poverty."

September 6, 1982 – Annual Meetings open in Toronto, Canada, with continuity of IDA funding as the major issue.

September 1, 1983 – The Vice Presidency, Financial Policy, Planning and Budgeting, with D. Joseph Wood as Vice President, is established.

Malta: early construction on the thermal electric power and desalinization plant, 1963

September 1, 1984 – The comparative studies program is launched with the study on The Timing and Sequencing of a Trade Liberalization Policy. The paper started with the assumption that trade liberalization would make a significant contribution to increased efficiency and growth in what were called the least developed countries, and discussed the crucial issue of sequencing over time of the various policy measures and the level of government intervention.

September 3, 1986 – The World Bank publishes a study of population growth in Africa, Population Growth and Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study stated that the unprecedented rate of population growth in Africa – which averaged 3 percent per year – was frustrating efforts at social and economic development. The study called for governments to design population programs suited to their individual cultural, social, and economic circumstances.

September 3, 1986 – President Conable announces top-level management changes, beginning with the discontinuance of the Managing Committee, and the restructuring of the Managing Committee’s subcommittees into Bank Policy committees.

September, 1987 – The Social Dimensions of Adjustment (SDA) Initiative is launched as a joint undertaking of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme.

September 1, 1988 – IFC opens a Regional Mission for North Africa in Casablanca, Morocco, headed by Mr. Sami Haddad.

September 1, 1990 – IFC establishes a Resident Mission in Warsaw, Poland, headed by Mr. Anthony Doran. The African Project Development Facility (APDF) establishes a Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe, headed by Mr. Omari M. Issa.

September 1, 1990 – President Conable travels to Hungary and Yugoslavia for meetings with government officials.

Malta: the completed plant, 1966

September, 1990 The World Bank and the Environment, the Bank’s first annual report to the public on its environmental activities, is published. According to the report: "It has become evident that environmental degradation in its many forms constitutes a threat to economic development. Sound environmental management has been recognized as fundamental to the development process, and the World Bank now emphasizes the need to make environmental concerns an integral part of its activities…It recommended that actions be taken to bring environmental strategy into the mainstream of country economic work, to strengthen research on the causes of environmental degradation and on the feasibility of appropriate policy interventions, to implement a new environmental assessment methodology, to increase lending for free standing environmental and population projects, to expand its efforts in staff training and guidance of Bank staff on environmental matters, and to participate more effectively in the international environmental debate. Five problem areas require special attention from the Bank: 1) destruction of natural habitats, 2) land degradation, 3) degradation and depletion of fresh water resources, 4) urban, industrial, and agricultural pollution and 5) degradation of the global commons."

September, 1991 – The World Bank’s poverty policy paper Assistance Strategies to Reduce Poverty is issued. The paper's objective was to demonstrate how Bank assistance strategies could be designed to contribute more effectively to the reduction of poverty. Two observations underlay the paper's main thrust. First, because all public policies and programs affect the poor either directly or indirectly, the Bank's efforts to assist countries in reducing poverty must be comprehensive. Second, because the depth and nature of poverty varied significantly among countries, the approach must be flexible enough to allow country-specific solutions. The paper illustrated the link between the analysis of poverty and the design of Bank assistance strategies using country examples to illustrate the basic principles. It also outlined ways of improving the information system for analyzing poverty, with or without large-scale household surveys. Finally, the paper focused on implementation.

Malta: The greenhouse of the Sparkes Nursery growing chrysanthemum and carnations – a beneficiary of the desalinization plant built in Malta, 1966.

September 1, 1991 – Lewis T. Preston becomes the eighth President of the Bank.

September 6, 1991 – The World Bank places loans to Congo in nonaccrual status. Congo thus became the ninth country in nonaccrual status at that time; the nine countries had loans which comprised about 2.9 percent of the Bank’s disbursed and outstanding loans.

September 3, 1992 – IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Ukraine, which becomes the 167th member of the Bank.

September 6, 1992 – Georgia becomes the 103rd member of ICSID.

September 1, 1993 – Michael Bruno is appointed Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist, replacing Lawrence Summers, who left the Bank in January 1993.

September 1, 1994 – Hollis Chenery dies. Mr. Chenery retired from the Bank in 1983 as Vice President for Economics and Research. He is best known for defining the Bank as a development institution, and transforming a small group of economists into the leading center for research in economic development.

September 3, 1995 – St. Kitts and Nevis becomes the 122nd member of ICSID.

September 6, 1996 – President Wolfensohn met with a Palestinian delegation and pledged continued support for the Palestinian people. He promised that the Bank would concentrate on employment-generating projects, and to assist in creating a favorable legal and incentive environment for investment in the West Bank and Gaza. He stated that the recent meeting between Palestinian President Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had reestablished a more promising atmosphere of cooperation.

September 7, 1997 – Latvia becomes the 129th member of ICSID.

President George Woods addresses the delegates at the 19th Annual Meetings in Tokyo, 1964

September 1, 1998 – Managing Director Jessica Einhorn retires from World Bank.

September 3, 1998 – The World Bank Inspection Panel decides not to investigate Lesotho Highlands Water Project, stating that harmful conditions exist but are the result of a historical neglect and apartheid, and are not linked to the World Bank project itself.

September 4, 1998 – Jean-Francois Rischard is appointed Vice President for Europe.

September 4, 1998 – After an internal investigation, two World Bank staff members are fired for embezzling trust funds. In addition to termination of employment, the payment of benefits to the staff members, including annual leave and resettlement expenses would be withheld. The Bank pledged a reexamination of its internal controls and continued vigilance to prevent a recurrence of this type of misconduct.

September 1, 1999 – New loan and hedging products are announced for borrowers. Included were a fixed-rated LIBOR based loan (with increased flexibility for borrowers to tailor loan maturities and to manage currency and interest rate risks); and hedging products that allow clients to enter into interest rate and currency swaps with the Bank.

September 3, 1999 – The World Bank welcomes the outcome of the referendum in East Timor and said the vote should be seen by all sides as a first critical step in building the country after many years of civil strife.

Irrigation in Indonesia: Hand labor reconstructs and deepens the Sindupradja Primary canal in West Java (1970 photo)

September 3, 1999 – The World Bank announces the retirement of Marianne Haug, Senior Advisor to the President, after 27 years in the Bank.

September 7, 1999 – The World Bank makes a statement on the balloting and subsequent violence in East Timor. The Bank urged the Government of Indonesia to ensure safety and restore order. The statement also pledged the Bank’s assistance to the East Timorese for the reconstruction of the territory.

September 7, 1999 – The World Bank opens new liaison office in Singapore.

September 7, 1999 – The World Bank pledges aid to Turkey in the aftermath of a severe earthquake.

September 6, 2000 – Bank President James Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Horst Kohler issue a joint statement on the shared objectives and guiding principles of the two institutions, declaring an "enhanced partnership."

September 7, 2000 – The World Bank and IMF release first-year progress reports on HIPC/PRSP Implementation. The reports reflected the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, and increased national ownership of poverty programs through the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. The reports showed that US$17 billion in HIPC debt relief had been committed to a total of 12 different countries, with plans to have agreements in place with 20 countries by the end of the year with a total of US$30 billion. More than a dozen countries had completed Interim or full PRSPs.

September 5, 2001 – World Bank Volunteer Services (WBVS) makes a Bank-wide distribution of a brochure on domestic abuse, saying that abuse can occur in all societies, at all educational levels, and in all economic brackets. WBVS offered resources to victims of abuse.

Irrigation in Indonesia: A huge dragline takes huge bites out of the canal built in the 1930s and now completely silted shut (1970 photo)

September 6, 2001 – World Bank President James Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Horst Kohler issue a joint statement on the shared vision and actions of the two institutions. The statement emphasized the shared context, objective, and guiding principles of the two Bretton Woods institutions.

September 7, 2001 – The World Bank announces that the Board of Executive Directors has approved a new information disclosure policy. A greater number of project-related documents, as well as country and sector strategy documents became eligible for public release as a result of the new policy. (The new policy was finalized in June 2002.)

September 7, 2001 – Amendments to the Statute of the Administrative Tribunal are announced by HR Vice President Katherine Sierra. The amendments dealt with the appointment of, and term limits for, Tribunal judges; reinstatement of wrongfully terminated staff; extending deadlines for filing appeals; and other matters.

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

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