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The Middle East and North Africa: A New Social Contract for Development

2011-04-06, Zoellick, Robert B.

Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group, discussed the political firestorm that engulfed Tunisia and the wider Middle East and its lessons for a new social contract for development that goes beyond the region itself. He argued for modernizing multilateralism in the Arab World, reforming international institutions to reflect power shifts in the world. Development economics must be democratized. Investment in the Arab World needs to be more diversified, while the governments increase accountability and reduce corruption and conflict. The new Arab voices are calling for dignity and respect and a series of changes amounting to a new social contract. While the World Bank once steered away from political topics, today our shareholders know that corruption is a drag on economies, strangling opportunity and taxing the poor. Now, anticorruption, gender, and transparency are vital to the practices of the World Bank Group. The upcoming new World Development Report stresses the role of legitimate institutions and governance. Citizen participation matters. Zoellick discussed job creation and safety nets as keys to maintaining development momentum in the region.

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Coalitions for Change

1999-09-28, Wolfensohn, James D.

World Bank Group President, James Wolfensohn addressed the Board of Governors. In the past year the Bank launched a new initiative—the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF). The aim was to bring the social and the structural aspects of development together with the macroeconomic and the financial so as to establish a much more balanced and effective approach. The Bank will work with the broad development community—the United Nations, the European Union, bilaterals, regional development banks, civil society, and the private sector—to build genuine partnerships. The CDF is now being piloted in 13 countries. The general experience reviewed that strengthening the organization, human capacity, and the structure of the state, both at central and local levels, is the first priority to reduce poverty. The speaker also called for a coalition for change in the new international development architecture in the face of globalization.