Activities of World Bank
Important activities of World Bank are financial assistance, technical assistance, Inter organizational cooperation, training, assisting in research and studies, Evaluation of projects, Settlement of investment disputes, assisting in Urban development, population planning and tourism etc. They are briefly explained below.
1. Financial assistance
The World Bank extends financial assistance for reconstruction and development of member countries. It facilitates capital investments for productive purposes. The bank finances its operations primarily from borrowings in the World capital market. Funds are also mobilized from governments, commercial banks, export credit agencies and other multilateral institutions. These funds are paired with World Bank funds to co-finance projects. The World Bank provides loans to help developing countries in the face of structural problems that threaten continuing development. To extend concessional loans to developing countries whose repayment capacity is limited, the World Bank established the IDA in 1960 and its has 162 members. The IDA provides concessional loans to the developing countries, largely from resources provided by its wealthier members.
2. Technical assistance
The World Bank provides technical assistance to its member countries. The technical assistance is related to feasibility studies, engineering designs, construction, supervision, execution, engineering services, energy, transportation, industry, etc. In 1975, the bank introduced project preparation facility to help the prospective buyers fill up gaps in project preparation and creation of necessary institutional structure for it. The World Bank executes the projects financed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The bank advises its members on development planning. It also deputes its staff members to render technical advice to the member countries. It transfers technology service on evaluation and monitoring panels.
3. Inter organizational cooperation
The World Bank promotes cooperation among several international organizations such as Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Labour Organization (ILO), etc.
In 1958, the World Bank established a staff training college to provide training to the senior officials of the member countries. This institution is referred to as Economic Development Institute (EDI) which has a network of several regional institutes. EDI organizes seminars in Washington in collaboration with regional training institutes.
5. Research and Studies
In 1971, the World Bank started undertaking research studies in social and other fields. About 3 percent of its budget is allotted for economic and social research. In 1983, the World Bank constituted the Research Policy Council (RPC) to provide leadership in the guidance, coordination and evaluation of all research work undertaken by the bank.
The Bank Research Advisory Group advises the Research policy council. World Bank’s own research personnel are engaged in the research activities. Also the less developed countries are able to strengthen their indigenous research potential.
6. Evaluation of projects
The World Bank assists the borrowing countries in the post evaluation of bank-assisted projects. The World Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department (OED) gives such assistance to the members. The department also audits various projects in collaboration with officials of member countries. The staff of the borrowing countries are given training in monitoring and evaluation of projects.
7. Settlement of investment disputes
The World Bank settles disputes related to investments which arise between the member nations and foreign investors. In 1966, the World Bank started “convention on the settlement of Disputes” . The convention on the settlement of Disputes is also known as International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Disputes between India and Pakistan; and between Egypt and United kingdom on Suez canal were some of the disputes settled with the help of this machinery.
8. Urban development, population planning and tourism
A population project development and a population studies division were set up by the World Bank. They concentrate on urban development and population planning. In 1976-77, the World Bank’s first population mission visited Jamaica to help its government in formulating family planning programmes. Further, the bank established a department for tourism projects to provide technical advice to the international finance corporation in the matter of tourist investment. Thus, the World Bank plays an active role in promoting global development and welfare of all people.