Zoellick Says World Bank Strong, Healthy and Well Positioned for New Challenges
WASHINGTON, February 15, 2012 – World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick announced today he would step down at the end of a five-year term in which a transformed Bank played an historic role during the global economic crisis, using record replenishments to provide more than $247 billion to help developing countries boost growth and overcome poverty.
“I’m honored to have led such a world class institution with so many talented and exceptional people. Together we have focused on supporting developing countries to navigate crises and adjust to global economic shifts. The Bank has recognized that we live in a world of multiple poles of growth where traditional concepts of the "Third World" are now outdated and where developing countries have a key role to play as growth drivers and responsible stakeholders. At the same time, we've scaled up our support to poor people, countries, and communities and shown that the Bank can be an indispensable innovator, catalyst, and driver of a modernized multilateralism," said Zoellick.
“I’m very pleased that when the world needed the Bank to step up, our shareholders responded with expanded resources and support for key reforms that made us quicker, more effective and more open,” Zoellick added. “The Bank is now strong, healthy and well positioned for new challenges, and so it is a natural time for me to move on and support new leadership.”
Among some of the areas of Bank leadership during Zoellick’s tenure:
Nimble/Activist Crises Initiatives
- Provided a record $247 billion of support in the key areas of infrastructure, the private sector, agriculture, trade finance, social safety nets, education, health, and the environment;
- The first general capital increase for the Bank in over 20 years, with over half the new capital from developing countries; and a record $90 billion raised for IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, against a very challenging backdrop of donor austerity;
- Putting Food First: Alerted the world to the forthcoming food crisis, and helped marshal new resources and tools to address it. World Bank agriculture lending increased to $6 billion per year.
- Created a new IFC (private sector) Asset Management Company to channel sovereign wealth funds and pension resources (to date $3 billion) to the private sector in Africa and other emerging markets.
Modernized World Bank
- Opened up the World Bank – landmark Access to Information policy, and Open Data Initiative throwing open the doors on Bank processes, projects, and data; to boost transparency and accountability all Bank projects have been geo mapped with clearly defined results-measurement. Last year, the Bank was ranked #1 for aid transparency by Publish What You Fund.
- Increased the Bank's results focus and launched the Bank’s third-ever lending instrument – Program for Results, which disburses money after verifiable results have been achieved.
- Advanced the Bank’s anti-corruption focus with a new sanctions policy, new preventative unit, new cross debarment agreement with other multilateral development banks, new Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) initiative, and the launch of an International Corruption Hunters Alliance.
- Blended innovation and practicality with new programs such as the Climate Investment Funds ($7.1 billion of contributions leveraged nearly $50 billion of investment spanning 46 countries).
- Transformed the Bank’s leadership: Half of senior officers are now women; almost half are from developing countries, including the Bank's first Chief Economist from a developing country - Justin Lin from China;
- and, maintained a flat real budget over 5 years, along with the Bank’s AAA rating.
- Led the Bank’s efforts with the G-20, helping secure progress on development, agriculture, food security, infrastructure, and other issues.
- New ventures: Nairobi Center focusing on security, conflict and development; “Gender Equality as Smart Economics”; Singapore Hub on Urban and Infrastructure development; Arab World Initiative.
- Expanded voice of developing countries at the World Bank, particularly with an additional board seat for Sub Saharan Africa. Launched a new Partnership for Social Accountability to bring citizen voices into the development mainstream.
Zoellick said that through June 30 he will stay 100% focused on being Bank President and will continue to drive policy and programs at a heightened tempo. For example, in late February, he will help unveil a joint groundbreaking World Bank-China study on the future structure of China’s growth model, drawing lessons for other middle-income countries.
Zoellick informed the Bank’s Board this morning of his decision. In April 2011, the World Bank’s Board approved a Presidential selection process.