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Doing Development Differently



Address by Caroline Anstey, Managing Director, World Bank

to Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA)

Dublin, Ireland, June 8, 2012



Ladies and Gentlemen,


·         It is a pleasure to be here and speak to such a distinguished gathering of leaders and opinion makers.


·         I would like to thank the Institute of International and European Affairs for providing this opportunity.  As a leading international affairs think tank, IIEA is held in high regard not only in Europe but around the world.


·         It’s especially good to be here in Ireland – a country which is such a strong supporter of international development – a point driven home just last month by the opinion poll, commissioned by Dóchas which found that 85 percent of people rated overseas aid as “important” or “very important”.  Eighty eight percent believe Ireland should be proud of its reputation as an international aid donor.


·         Ireland should be proud. The World Bank Group values Ireland’s contribution  - especially in these tough economic times - to the International Development Association, our fund to support the poorest 79 countries, and Ireland’s support to boost agricultural productivity and nutrition in developing countries.


·         In July 1944, 500 men, and one woman, from 44 countries, gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to design a new global system for economic, monetary and trade affairs.


·         Those Founding Fathers – and one Founding Mother - operating largely behind closed doors, gave birth to what would become the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO.


·         Fast forward sixty-eight years to a community a few kilometers west of the capital of Tanzania, Dar-es-Salaam, where students are using GPS devices to collect public data on the delivery of local services – schools, health clinics, public toilets and trash dumps - so that information can be uploaded onto a public online data map, to help hold their government accountable for improved service delivery.


·         Over the last four years, while the world has been focused on financial and economic crises precipitated first in the US, and now in Europe, a silent revolution has been taking place in the world of development.


·         Consider just three sets of facts:


o    In 1944, developed economies’ share of global GDP was about 80 percent. Today two-thirds of global growth is being driven by the developing world. Over the past ten years, developing countries have grown nearly four times faster than developed countries, and that trend is expected to continue. 


o    In 1944, hand-held radio receivers were just being piloted, largely for military purposes, and the internet was non-existent. Today, mobile phone use worldwide has topped six billion. In Africa alone, there are over 400 million mobile users. Thirty three percent of the global population is now internet users, a growth of over 500 percent over the last 10 years.


o    In 1944, the World Bank was effectively the only international development game in town. Today we see bilateral donors, private sector flows, vertical funds, foundations, civil society organizations. The Index for Global Philanthropy and Remittances estimates that in the US alone, private philanthropy at over $35 billion a year is 60 percent larger than US official aid. And developing countries themselves are now aid donors – contributing somewhere between $12 - $15 billion. 


What does this silent revolution mean for development?


·         First, it means that development is, and will increasingly be, flatter. It’s no longer about knowledge and finance flowing North to South, West to East, developed to developing. New multiples poles of growth, of influence, and of success, are transforming the traditional prism of donor and recipient, broadening our concepts of one-size-fits-all development models.


o    In 2008 when the Independent Commission on Growth, chaired by Michael Spence, released its report, it underscored that policymakers need to customize and experiment with policies rather than follow any rigid set of guidelines. He was perhaps too polite to add that those guidelines came almost exclusively from the developed world. But the financial crises in Europe and the US have only further encouraged emerging markets and developing countries to look elsewhere.


o    Today, its India’s model for information communication technologies being studied across the African continent; conditional cash transfer systems pioneered in Brazil and Mexico being piloted in New York City; Rwanda taking its inspiration for rural agricultural from China’s experience in terracing degraded hillsides.


o    And what applies to projects and programs, applies equally to economic policies.  Developing countries and emerging markets can choose from a much larger menu of economic examples.  


·         Second, it means that just as the traditional hierarchies and influence among states are beginning to erode as economic balances of power shift, so hierarchies within states are changing. Development is being democratized before our eyes, as top down interventions are giving way to much more participatory solutions.


o    We saw it in Uganda where health workers in 50 health centers across the country were inspired to work harder after community monitoring – resulting in a 33 percent drop in child mortality.


o    Or South-Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo where citizens are using mobile phones to vote for local budget priorities. It’s meant more funds at the local level for public services and citizens more willing to pay taxes. In some local communities, tax collection has multiplied up to 16 times.


o    In the Philippines - - a unique coalition of civil society, educators, and parents, is helping ensure textbooks arrive in classrooms and facilities are maintained in 243 schools across geographically dispersed areas.


o    Development is no longer about development experts in foreign capitals making suppositions about people in distant communities. Civil society matters for development effectiveness. A robust civil society can check on budgets, seek and publish information, challenge stifling bureaucracies, throw a spotlight on corruption, and monitor service delivery. Civil society can insist on respect for the rights of citizens. And civil society can assume responsibilities too.  


·         Third, it means that development is now about a network of interventions and actors: public and private, global and local. It’s about policy as much as transfers of money: how to put in place incentives to boost domestic revenue? It’s about innovation as much as investment: how to structure crop insurance, or build equity markets? It’s about global public goods as much as domestic policy. The traditional silos between public and private sectors; public and private actors -  government, foundations, CSOs and the private sector - and between  local, regional, and global interventions are breaking down. We have to work in partnership.  


·         And fourth, it means that development is about openness. Effective development can’t be done behind closed doors - swathed in a fog of secrecy, or reserved for experts only. Modern technology won’t allow it, citizens won’t tolerate it, and development effectiveness should decry it.  


·         That means greater transparency, greater accountability and a much sharper focus on monitoring, evaluation and results – for taxpayers who need to see that the development funds they contribute are used effectively, especially in tough fiscal times; for citizens who need to know that their governments are using their money accountably; for evaluating interventions that can move countries towards growth and opportunity and away from aid dependence.


·         Put those four changes together: flatter development; more democratized, citizen-centric development; networked development; and open and results-based development, and you have a very different world from 1944.


So what does that mean for a development institution like the World Bank?


·         Let me focus on just one area: the role of knowledge twinned with technology.


·         The World Bank has long been about more than finance, though our name might suggest otherwise. We have a long and proud history of research and economic and social analysis. Our annual World Development Report has often been cutting edge, pushing the frontiers of development.


·         But the World Bank does not have all the answers. Today, increasingly the World Bank needs to act as a convener and connector of knowledge, engaging experts, citizens, governments and the private sector in the search for development solutions. And technology is fast emerging as a game changer in the world of development.


·         Mobile devices are helping inform the impact and reach of development projects. Technology is transforming the face of disaster relief. GPS enabled cameras are providing a lens into work in remote, conflict affected zones. Data is helping deliver transparency and share knowledge beyond borders.


Opening up Data


·         Two years ago, the Bank launched an Access to Information Policy, based on the US and Indian Freedom of Information Acts, to open its projects and operations to public scrutiny, and to learning. That same year we opened our data banks. We are now publishing over 8,000 development indicators in a central data catalog – freely open for commercial and non-commercial use.  Six weeks ago, we launched a new Open Knowledge Repository, an online site including over 2,000 research works released under an Open Access Policy under a Creative Commons Attribution license – the most liberal available. 


·         And we are supporting countries to build their own Open Data platforms.  The Bank helped Kenya become the first country on the African continent to set up an Open Data Initiative. Now it’s possible for anyone to obtain census or budget data, check on spending at the county level or even find a nearby health facility. Moldova has followed suit. We’re seeing interest from other nations like Mongolia and Nigeria.


·         We’ve been investing in new software platforms – new apps to ensure that we don’t just share World Bank data, but help others collect and use their own. ADePT is a free program designed to simplify and speed-up the production of analytical reports on issues such as  poverty, inequality, labor, gender, education, health and social protection. WITS is software developed by the Bank, in close collaboration with other international organizations, giving people access to major international trade, tariffs and non-tariff data compilations.


·         Tools like the World Bank finance mobile app gives the Bank’s financial information in a way that’s easy to understand, use and share. Anyone can see where the World Bank is spending money.  An integrity app brings technology and our focus on openness to the service of accountability and integrity, giving citizens instant access to information on Bank projects and the means to report concerns of fraud and corruption. The app,  launched just this week, allows people to send in a photo of a half built medical center, an audio recording of a request for a bribe or any file or document that might be relevant.



Crowdsourcing Solutions


·         These are all interventions that can help connect individuals with hitherto inaccessible information, and by doing so, both democratize information and strengthen accountability.


·         But modern technology allows us to do something more – Crowdsourcing – tapping into the collective skills of the public across the globe to address specific development challenges. Remember the 500 delegates at Bretton Woods? This can be 500, 1000, 1500+ virtual delegates around the world.  


·         Just recently I read that Ireland has launched an initiative to crowdsource the six million-strong Irish Diaspora to explore economic opportunities for investment and employment in Ireland.


·         Crowdsourced hackathons hosted by the Bank have allowed the tech community and disaster experts to join forces to develop applications in response to disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.


·         Crowdsourcing saw more than 600 structural engineers in 21 countries “virtually” analyze data collected by the Bank including high resolution aerial photos depicting the extent of the damage wrought by Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Their conclusions – essentially what to rebuild and where – have been used by the Haitian government, relief organization, companies and a myriad of others.


·         Just last weekend a team based in  Washington – software developers, designers and other experts – connected with volunteers in 28 different sites around the globe – from Berlin to Bangalore, Hyderabad to Kigali, Santo Domingo to Prague and beyond  - to come up with creative solutions to problems in extractive industries, water and sanitation and finance.


·         Or by launching a virtual Wiki we can invite - and crowdsource - citizen-authors to take part in writing a flagship Bank report on youth employment in Africa. Knowledge that once flowed only top down, can be complemented by the experiences of practioners, employers, policymakers, and young people.  


Mapping for the future


·         Combining data with geo-mapping has the potential to take participatory development even further.


·         In the past three years, the Bank’s Mapping for Results initiative geo-coded some 1600 active Bank projects in 30,000 locations in 144 countries. Overlay data and it can help answer questions for policy makers and others – are health projects in areas with the highest infant mortality? Building on this success, the World Bank, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Finland have endorsed an Open Aid Partnership that will map development projects of all partners for better local development coordination.  It’s already happened in Malawi with geo-mapping of all projects from 27 donor partners. And for the future – the aim of the maps through the Open Aid Partnership is to integrate ICT-enabled citizen feedback.  


·         A new initiative called BOOST helps geo-map budgets using treasury disbursement data.


·         In Uganda, on a very simple map, we are able to show the levels of spending and levels of efficiency.


·         And community mapping can help fill crucial development gaps.  It’s a simple but harsh reality that most developing countries don’t have enough basic local data about where schools or hospitals are located. A recent mapping study of 100 health facilities and schools in Kenya found that only 25 percent of the clinics and 20 percent of the schools matched official data. Nearly 75 percent of locations needed to be updated.


·         Lack of knowledge of social infrastructure like schools and hospitals makes it more costly when natural disasters strike, setting back recovery efforts, sometimes by months. 


·         Community mapping can fill some of those knowledge gaps. We’ve seen it happen in South Sudan. With the help of members of the Sudanese Diaspora living in the United States, the World Bank helped organize a mapathon to map the location of roads, settlements, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in South Sudan. It was based on a simple premise – if you can put geocoders and people who know and have lived in South Sudan in the same room, using their knowledge to build a map, you will have more credible and useful information.  And it helps the Bank and its development partners better evaluate risks and needs. 


Beneficiary Feedback


  • Openness extends from mapping to monitoring through direct feedback from beneficiaries – the people at the frontline of development. In countries like Malawi, India and Sri Lanka, people benefitting from community development projects have been giving feedback via scorecards. Customer feedback on delivery of public services via cell-phone reporting is now integrated into projects in countries as diverse as Tanzania, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Indonesia. 


  • And increasingly, direct beneficiary feedback can be  built into  monitoring and evaluation.  Two years ago, in Ghana, Sierra Leone and six other countries in Africa, we piloted bringing beneficiary feedback into project evaluation. It’s helped highlight and deal with project challenges. It’s bringing more players – and those directly involved – into the project process.


  • Take Karnataka, India, where district health officials track outputs, identify supply constraints and gather important health metrics from women attending maternal health clinics, via a hand held device to provide feedback on the quality of service. A Beneficiary Verification System uses a simple dashboard and red, orange, green traffic light system to inform the district officials.  


·         And using beneficiary feedback we can start to measure the traditionally “unmeasurable” - support to institution building, capacity building, and the need for policy reform.


·         This is a very different world from 1944. A world where modern technology can allow us to leap traditional divides between elites and citizens, a world where we can recognize that if two-thirds of global growth comes from developing countries, perhaps two-thirds of ideas can too. And to those who say, these solutions are too high tech:  Remember the 400 million cell phone users in Africa. Just take Kenya, where today three out of four Kenyan adults now pay bills and transfer money through a mobile phone. That was a Kenyan born innovation. This is not tomorrow's world. This is today. 




·         We estimate that over the last 10 years IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, has helped to immunize 310 million children, provided access to water for over 113 million, and is supporting better education for more than 100 million children every year. And Ireland, as a generous contributor to IDA, is a part of that success story.


·         But despite all the advances, without basic information, we can only go so far.  All of us in the development community need to know more about what works and what doesn’t in development, so that we can better use knowledge and technology in a global search for development solutions.


·         Yet the stark reality is that though data collection around the world has improved, we still know much too little to be comfortable that we are not making policy in the dark.  In 2003 only four countries had two data points for 16 or more of the 22 principal indicators for the Millennium Development Goals. By 2009 this had improved to 118 countries.


·          Data remain a matter of life and death. In 2009 the births of 50 million children went unrecorded.  They entered the world with no proof of age, citizenship or parentage. That same year 40 million people died unnoted except by family or friends.


·         In South Asia, only one percent of the population is covered by complete vital registration records, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, only two percent. Lacking effective registration systems, countries must rely on infrequent and expensive surveys to estimate the vital statistics needed to support the core functions of government and to plan for the future.


·         Innovative programs to gather high frequency data on household welfare using mobile devises are in a pilot stage. These programs will supplement data from household surveys to provide up-to-date information on food consumption and price changes, weather, quality of service delivery, access to services, and other important topics. This holds the potential to provide powerful and timely information for citizens and policymakers at all levels of decision-making.


·         Like the renaissance cartographers before us, we need to map our world. Technology can help, citizens can help, international institutions can help, but as we partner for development solutions, as we democratize, as we flatten and as we navigate this new world, we need a global initiative to ensure that in no corner of the world are we navigating development in the dark.


·         I hope that Ireland can partner with us on this global imperative.


Thank you.






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