World Bank must be results-driven and transparent

The World Bank must be results-driven and transparent. To achieve better results it needs to work with governments, the private sector, NGOs, international organisations and parliaments. Reports on World Bank activities must also be transparent. These points were all raised in Washington on Saturday by Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen at the World Bank’s autumn meetings.

Mr Knapen also said that the World Bank should operate counter-cyclically, if the crisis called for that. It should then release more funds to mitigate the consequences of the crisis.

The World Bank should also play a major part in the international community’s response to developments in North Africa, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. With the famine in Africa fresh in his mind, Mr Knapen asked the World Bank to be more active in investing in the farming sector in developing countries. He stressed that apart from development aid provided by governments, private sector investment is also needed. The World Bank can act as facilitator.

Taking part in a panel discussion with Princess Máxima, Mr Knapen called for attention for innovative ways of giving the poorest people access to financial services. With the help of, for example, good credit facilities, savings schemes and insurance, they can often greatly improve their quality of life.

In a forum discussion in which participants included Melinda Gates, Mr Knapen called on the World Bank to make a greater commitment to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. A focus on this issue is in the interests not only of economic growth, but also of women and young people. Equal opportunities for women are a prerequisite of safety and prosperity. The Dutch government has made Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights a priority of Dutch development cooperation policy.