MOPAN Assessment of the World Bank (IDA-IBRD)

In August 2023, MOPAN published its assessment of the World Bank (IDA-IBRD). This is the seventh MOPAN assessment of the World Bank, following previous ones in 2015-16, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2005 and 2003.

The World Bank comprises the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) they constitute the World Bank Group (WBG). IBRD was established in 1944 following WWII to help war-torn Europe rebuild its infrastructure. IDA was created in 1960 to complement IBRD’s activities by providing resources to low-income countries that face issues of creditworthiness.

Today, the World Bank operates in 145 countries in all regions of the world and across all major sectors of development. It employs 12,778 full-time staff, 46 percent of which are based in country offices. IBRD and IDA operate under separate financial models: IBRD provide loans from its own equity and capital market borrowings whereas IDA is financed through member contributions that are now also supplemented by market borrowing. IBRD provides lending on market terms to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, whereas IDA provides concessional lending, often on grant terms, to the lowest income countries. These financial products are complemented by guarantees, risk management products, advisory services and analytical work in line with the World Bank’s comparative advantage as a solutions bank. At the end of FY22, the World Bank’s portfolio of ongoing projects comprised over 1,978 operations valued at USD 299 billion in net commitments. 

This report provides a diagnostic snapshot, telling the story of the World Bank’s performance in delivering its mandate. It is the seventh MOPAN assessment conducted for the World Bank, following those completed in 2016, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2005 and 2003. This assessment covers the period from 2017 through 2022. 

Main strengths

  • Unparalleled strength of the Bank’s financial framework, including the Hybrid Financial Model for IDA, the new IBRD Financial Framework and Trust Fund reform. Changes made over the assessment framework have further expanded resources for concessional lending, promoted sustainable lending over the medium-term and reinforced value for shareholders.
  • A well-established Country Engagement Model (CEM) promotes the upstream integration of evidence and global themes and downstream adaptation to changing needs and contexts. Corporate measures such as the gender tag and climate co-benefits have promoted extensive integration of global themes into operations downstream.
  • Strong safeguards and internal control systems for fraud and corruption, procurement, and environmental and social safeguards, including prevention of and response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and Sexual Harassment (SH). Safeguards are fully integrated throughout the CEM. Increasingly, internal control functions are adopting a proactive approach focused on prevention and outreach.
  • Strong performance of operations in contributing to development outcomes. Performance of World Bank operations has improved since the previous assessment period with 85% of operations validated as moderately satisfactory or higher for contribution to project development outcomes.

Areas for attention

  • The “Cascade” process is not being implemented systematically to build upon the World Bank Group comparative advantage in mobilising finance for development. The role of the Bank is facilitating private investment could be better defined and measured.
  • The Bank is an active convener globally, regionally and at country level. While the Bank has recently established processes to enhance the selectivity of its global partnerships, there remains no framework to guide and demonstrate the contribution of these partnerships to development results. Other partnerships at the regional and country level are implemented in a decentralised way that is not institutionalised.
  • The Bank’s regional operations are key to addressing transboundary development challenges and promote regional public goods. There is a need to better demonstrate regional outcomes, streamline instruments for regional operations and enhance incentives for MICs.
  • The Bank often does not demonstrate the contribution of its Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) to the achievement of development outcomes. There is also room to promote more systematic uptake of these resources for operational learning.
  • There are opportunities for the Bank to better demonstrate the outcomes of its support in addressing global challenges such as climate change. In addressing this challenge, the Bank may consider strengthening measuring its contribution to global goods at the country and regional level, including through increased evidence from evaluation. This would complement the many positive steps the Bank has taken in addressing global challenges.

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