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This Week in World Bank History: April 28 – May 4

May 3, 2002 A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

Lewis Preston selected by the Executive Directors to become the World Bank´s eighth president

April 29, 1947 — The World Bank announces that it has received loan applications from Mexico and the Netherlands for loans of $208,875,000 and $535,000,000 respectively. The Mexico loan was for irrigation and hydroelectric project, highway construction, pipelines, railroads and harbor improvements. The Netherlands loan was for post-war reconstruction and industrialization.

May 1, 1947 — Vice President Robert L. Garner addresses the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks in Boston, Massachusetts. At this point, of the 44 member countries, only the United States had given its consent for the release of its capital subscriptions to be used for lending purposes, for a total of $725 million. Speaking of the need for American capital for the needs of post-war reconstruction, Garner said "You in this audience control billions of dollars of the savings of millions of Americans. We in the International Bank look to you savings bankers as one of the principal sources from which we hope to secure funds to carry on the work for which the Bank was organized." He went on to give a description of the Bank, saying that it was "was well organized with a staff of some 200. The key personnel represents an experienced group drawn from various countries. For instance of the heads of the eight departments into which the organization is divided, four are American, two Canadian, one French and one Dutch. All these men, as well as the remainder of the Staff, have been carefully chosen solely on their record of experience and performance."

April 29, 1949 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1949. Net income amounted to $7,383,006 (as compared with $2,242,597 for the same period in 1948.) Total expenses for the period amounted to $8,228,698 (as compared to $8,577,770 for the same period in 1948.)

May 3, 1949 — IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Siam (Thailand), which becomes the 47th member of the Bank. The Articles of Agreement were signed by H.R.H. Prince Wan Waithayakon, Siam's Ambassador to the United States.

Loan signing of Loan 0193—Nigeria Railway Development Project. Present at the signing were (left to right) Sir Harold Caccia, British Ambassador in Washington, World Bank Vice President J. Burke Knapp, and the Honorable Chief Festus Okoti-Eboh, Nigerian Federal Minister of Finance

May 3, 1950 — The Bank announces that a group of 14 banks, headed by the Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij NV, has applied for the listing on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange of Netherlands Trustee certificates to be issued against the 25-years 3 percent bonds of the Bank.

April 20, 1951 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1951. Net income amounted to $11, 483, 230 (as compared with $9,856,856 for the same period in 1950.) Total loan commitments amounted to $1,089,875,000.

April 29, 1952 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1952. Net income amounted to $12,507,639. During this period the Bank made 14 loans, amounting to $212,658,000.

April 29, 1952 — The World Bank submits a report to ECOSOC on a proposal for the establishment of an International Finance Corporation to stimulate economic development through private investment in underdeveloped countries.

May 3, 1954 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1954. Net income amounted to $15,006,406 (as compared with $12,947,735 for the same period in 1953.) During this period the Bank made 22 loans totaling $275,482,000.

Loan 0193 – Nigeria Railway Development Project. A young Fulani girl wearing an Independence shirt "Nigeria 1960" watches as a group of laborers begin digging a drain for a culvert near the Jerikom Bridge

May 3, 1955 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1955. Net income amounted to $18.6 million (as compared with $15 million for the same period in 1954.) During this period the Bank made 13 loans totaling $254.4 million.

May 3, 1955 — World Bank President Eugene Black meets with the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, Mario Scelba, to discuss proposed loans to Southern Italy. "I was pleased to tell the President of the Council of Ministers that I expected during the next few weeks to be able to recommend to the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank that a loan of $70 million be made to the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno for project of high priority…" (Two loans for Italian power and agriculture were signed in 1955 and 1956.)

April 30, 1956 — The Indus Waters negotiation deadline is extended indefinitely. (This was part of the ongoing negotiations, facilitated by the World Bank since 1951, between India and Pakistan over the waters of the Indus Basin rivers. The Indus Basin Treaty was signed in September 1960. )

May 4, 1956 — First funding for Burma (Myanmar): Loan 0139 – Railway Project. Two projects were signed at the same time; the second being for the rehabilitation of the Port of Rangoon. The funds were to be used for the reconstruction of installations and properties destroyed during World War II.

May 1, 1957 — The World Bank announces that President Eugene Black will travel to Japan, Formosa, and the Philippines to meet government official and business leaders. Mr. Black was accompanied on the three-week tour by Martin Rosen, Director of Operations for the Far East.

May 3, 1957 — The Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1957. Net income amounted to $25.7 million (as compared with $21.2 million for the same period in 1956.) The net income was placed in the Supplemental Reserve against losses, bringing this total to $176.4 million. Total Reserves were $265.7 million.

April 29, 1958 — "An important step in the settlement of the compensation of the Suez stockholders was taken today when Heads of Agreement were signed in Rome by Mr. Abdel Qaleel El Emery, Governor of the National Bank of Egypt, and by …representatives of the Suez stockholders. The Heads of Agreement were witnessed by Mr. W.A.B. Iliff, Vice President , as representative of Mr. Eugene R. Black, President of the World Bank." Meetings of the two parties were to be resumed in May 1958. (The Suez Crisis broke out in July, 1956, when Egyptian President Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. Israel invaded Egypt, and this was followed by Anglo-French attacks on Egyptian airfields and an invasion of the Canal Zone. The US persuaded Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw their troops. In 1957 President Black offered the good services of the Bank to negotiate between the Egyptian government and the Suez Canal stockholders. The Bank's role was successful and a final agreement providing for compensation was signed in Geneva in July 1958.) World Bank press release, April 29, 1958.

Loan 0193 – Nigeria Railway Development Project.  A new MAK diesel locomotive pulls a train out of Heipan station

May 2, 1958 — First funding for Nigeria: Loan 0193 – Railway Development Project. The loan was made to the Federation of Nigeria, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom approaching full independence. The loan was to improve the existing rail system, 1780 miles of main and branch railways which formed the backbone of the country's transportation system, and to build new rail lines into the northeastern provinces. Under the terms of the loan, the Nigerian Railway Corporation purchased 28 new mainline diesel electric locomotives, four diesel shunters, 1,400 freight cars and cabooses, and 260 coaches, sleeping cars and baggage vans. 240 miles of main track were re-laid, and 400 miles of new track were built from Kuru on the Jos Plateau through Bauchi and Bornu provinces to Maiduguri near Lake Chad and the frontier of French Equatorial Africa.

May 4, 1959 — The World Bank issues the Summary Report of the International Panel on Project ENSI. The reports was the work of seven internationally known experts on nuclear power who formed the International Panel appointed by the Bank to take part in a study of the feasibility of generating electricity in Southern Italy by means of a nuclear power station. The study was known as Energia Nucleare Sud Italia (ENSI), and recommended the selection of the International General Electric Company of New York as the supplier of the new power plant. (The Bank signed the SENN Nuclear Power Project - loan 0235 September 16, 1959.)

April 29, 1960 — Eugene Black formally opens the Bank's new office at 4 Avenue d'Iena in Paris. He then continues on to visit Israel, Sudan, Kenya, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

May 3, 1962 — The World Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1962. Net income amounted to $51.7 million. Twenty four loans, totaling $663.9 million were made. Total Reserves were $676.1 million.

Paris Office, 1960

May 2, 1963 — IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), which becomes the 85th member of the Bank.

May 3, 1963 — The United Nations Special Fund, the Government of Brazil, and the World Bank announce that they have agreed to survey the hydroelectric resources and power market of Brazil's South Central Region, and have agreed on the development of a 15-year construction program for power generation and transmission in the Region. The World Bank served as the executing agency for the survey, and disbursed the $1.8 million made available by the UN Special Fund. The survey covered the main basins of the Parana, Paranaiba, Paraiba, Itabapoana, and Ribera Rivers.

May 3, 1965 — The World Bank sends an eight-week economic mission to Lagos, Nigeria. The mission was headed by Dragoslav Avramovic, Chief of Special Economic Studies. The mission was to study the progress made under the Nigerian Development Plan, priorities in the principal sectors, capital requirements and institutional arrangements and policies related to economic development. (A 10-volume report, Nigeria - Economic growth : problems and prospects, was issued in November 1965.)

May 4, 1965 — The World Bank announces that it will organize and help to finance a study of the Kunduz-Khanabad River Basin in northern Afghanistan for integrated agricultural development.

Paris Office, 1960.  Entrance hall

May 4, 1965 — The World Bank releases its financial statements for the nine-month period ending March 31, 1965. Net income amounted to $102 million. Twenty five loans, totaling $593 million, were made. Total Reserves were $894 million.

May 4, 1966 — The Nam Ngum Development Fund Agreement is signed by representatives of nine countries and the World Bank. Seven participating countries agree to provide grants totaling the equivalent of $22,815,000.

April 28, 1967 — The Consultative Group for Morocco meets for the first time in Washington. Countries represented were: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The IMF and UNDP also sent observers.

April 29, 1968 — The World Bank arranges placement with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency of a $15 million issue of twenty-six year bonds.

May 2, 1968 — The Tarbela Development Fund Agreement is signed, providing nearly $500 million of external financing for the project on the Indus River in West Pakistan. The World Bank acts as the administrator of the Fund.

April 28, 1969 — The World Bank issues a new monograph in the World Bank Staff Occasional Papers: Reappraisal of a Road Project in Iran, by Herman G. van der Tak and Jan de Weille. The purpose of the paper was to evaluate the actual economic effects of a 1959 loan project, and it discussed the transport setting and historical background of the project, the constructions costs and delays, the structure and growth of traffic, road user savings, development benefits that were expected to result, and the impact of the road on agriculture. The book was published by Johns Hopkins University Press; the price was $3.00.

May, 1970 — Joint Bank-IFC Audit Committee is established.

May, 1970 — The formation of a Consultative Group for support of existing and new international agricultural research institutes is announced.

Paris Office, 1960.  President Eugene Black greeting visitors at the opening of the Bank's Paris office

April 30, 1973 — The Bank approves Loan 0889 – Power Project (06) to El Salvador for electric power generating and transmission facilities. This loan features the first geo-thermal power plant financed by the Bank in Latin America. The Inter-American Development Bank was a co-lender. "The Ahuachapan plant will not adversely affect the environment. Safeguards have been agreed upon to protect public health and ocean life from effluent waters from the geothermal wells. A resettlement and employment program will be implemented by CEL [Comision Ejecutiva Hidroelectica del Rio Lempa] to insure the welfare of about 10,000 people to be affected by the construction of the dam at the Cerron Grande site." World Bank press release, April 30, 1973.

May 1, 1973 — The Executive Directors approve recommendations concerning the Bank's role in fighting onchocerciasis (river blindness disease) in Western Africa.

May 4, 1976 — The Executive Directors approve an increase in IFC's capital stock from $110 million to $650 million.

May, 1977 — The Board of Governors approves the increase in the Bank's authorized capital from $27 billion to $34 billion.

May 2, 1978 — EEC Special Action Fund is approved in Brussels. This establishes a fund to provide quick-disbursing assistance to the poorest countries. The fund is administered by IDA, and financing is provided by the nine member governments of the European Communities (EEC).

May 2, 1980 — New Zealand becomes the 77th member of ICSID.

April 30, 1981 — First funding for Solomon Islands: Credit 1115 – Development Bank of the Solomon Islands (DBSI) Project.

April 28, 1982 — IFC and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by St. Lucia, which becomes the 122nd member of IFC and the 130th member of IDA.

Signing of the Nam Ngum Development Fund Agreement, 1966. President George Woods is seated at the center

April 29, 1985 — IFC and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Hungary, which becomes the 127th member of IFC and the 133rd member of IDA.

April 29, 1987 — World Bank President Conable meets with Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minster of Norway to discuss the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (created by the UN General Assembly in 1983). Conable applauds the interconnection between sustainable development and environmental concern.

April 30, 1987 — Reginald A. Clarke, Director Compensation Department, retires from the Bank after 23 years of service. Clarke joined the Bank in 1964 in the Development Services Department. He then moved to the Administration Department as Personnel Manager, and in 1971 became Department Director. He was instrumental in shaping the Bank's personnel and compensation policies and functions, and emphasized the need for professionalism in the Bank's services.

May 4, 1987 — As the beginning of the 1987 Reorganization, the Bank is reorganized into four senior vice presidential complexes: Moeen A. Qureshi is named Senior Vice President for operations; Ernest Stern, Senior Vice President for finance; W. David Hopper, Senior Vice President for policy, planning, and research; Will A. Wapenhans, Senior Vice President for administration. Four regional vice presidents are appointed: S. Shahid Husain, Edward V. K. Jaycox, Attila Karaosmanoglu, Wilfried P. Thalwitz. Other Vice Presidents include: Martijn J. W. M. Paijmans, Pension Fund; D. Joseph Wood, Financial Policy and Risk Management; Visvanathan Rajagopolan, Sector Policy and Research; Jose Botafogo Goncalves, External Affairs. Within regions, country departments are created that combine the functions previously divided between program and projects departments. The Policy Committee is created to advise the President on institutional matters.

April 29, 1988 — MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Ghana, Italy, and Spain which become the 32nd, 33rd , and 34th members (respectively) of MIGA.

April 30, 1988 — MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by China, which becomes the 35th member of MIGA.

May 1, 1989 — World Bank President Barber Conable announces that the new Revised Compensation System, having taken four years of planning, has been approved by the Executive Directors. The new system had a single salary structure for both higher level and support level staff; that structure was increased in order to make the Bank more competitive internationally. An annual salary survey was to be done to ensure that the salary structure remained competitive.

May 1, 1990 — IFC opens Regional Mission for Central Africa in Douala, Cameroon, headed by Mr. Roger Blondel.

Hydroelectric power station being constructed with funds from the Nam Ngum Development Fund

May 2, 1990 — IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Cape Verde, which becomes the 135th member of IFC.

April 28, 1992 — President Lewis Preston announces that the 135 Governors of the World Bank have voted to approve resolutions to permit membership of 13 of the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union. (The other two republics were expected to have approval shortly.) He commended the staff and managers throughout the Bank who worked tirelessly to prepare the republics for membership.

April 30, 1992 — Hugh Scott, Associate General Counsel, retires from Bank. Mr. David Goldberg succeeds him.

May 4, 1992 — The Board approves a $1 billion increase in the authorized capital of the IFC, bringing total authorized capital to $2.3 billion.

May 3, 1994 — The Bank unveils a three-year, $1.2 billion program to assist Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

May 4, 1995 — World Bank President Lewis T. Preston dies, at age 68, in Washington. Preston became World Bank President on September 1, 1991 succeeding Barber B. Conable. He was in office during numerous events of significance to the World Bank: the admission of the republics of the former Soviet Union to Bank membership, the initiation of lending programs in the newly democratic South Africa, the resumption of lending operations in Vietnam, the influx of private sector capital into developing countries, the criticisms of the non-governmental organizations, the Wapenhans Report on Portfolio Management, the Morse Commission report on Sardar Sarovar, the Main Complex Rehabilitation Project, the Business Innovation and Simplification (BIAS) Committee, and the establishment of the Inspection Panel. He declared that alleviating poverty would be the Bank's "overarching objective," and said that applications for loans would be judged on a nation's social justice record as well as its economic efficiency. He emphasized the quality of lending over the quantity of lending. In July 1993 Mr. Preston had heart surgery at Georgetown University, and Ernest Stern served as Acting President. In February 1995, Mr. Preston was diagnosed with cancer; Richard Frank served as Acting President from that point. A memorial service for Mr. Preston was held at George Washington University on May 18.

April 28, 1997 — The World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) sign a formal agreement of cooperation to coordinate efforts to further integrate developing countries into the global economy. The purpose of the agreement was to help to establish a level playing field for global trade and to assist developing countries to adopt open policies that support growth and reduce poverty.

April 30, 1998 — The World Bank inaugurates its resident mission in Rabat, Morocco. Members of Morocco's Cabinet, as well as more than 200 representatives of the Kingdom's civil society, government, business and academic communities, and international organizations and donor-country representatives attended the opening. Morocco joined the Bank in 1958.

Geothermal power plant at Ahuachapan, El Salvador

April 28, 1999 — The World Bank inaugurates its office in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Senior government officials, foreign diplomats, international donor and business communities and representatives of international NGOs attended the opening.

April 30, 1999 — Managing Director Caio Koch-Weser retires from Bank to become the State Secretary of Finance in the Federal German Government. Koch-Weser had served in the Bank for 26 years. His positions included that of Personal Assistant to the President of the Bank Robert McNamara (1977-1980), Division Chief for China (1980-1986), Director of Western Africa Department (1986-1990). In 1990 he was assigned to the Treasurer's Department, and in 1991 he became Vice President of Middle East and North Africa (MNA). He was appointed one of the Managing Directors of the World Bank in 1996.

May 1, 2000 — The World Bank joins with the Panos Institute, London, to sponsor an electronic conference on development issues—"Globalization, Development, and Poverty." The conference consisted of a month-long electronic discussion on the Bank's Development Forum and had more than 3,000 registrants.

May 2, 2000 — The World Bank Group announces that Uganda has met the conditions for its completion point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the first country to do so, and will begin receiving $1.3 billion in debt-service relief. This amount was in addition to $650 million committed to Uganda when it became the first country to complete the original HIPC framework in April 1998.

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

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