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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1980-09-30) McNamara, Robert S.In his final address to the Board of Directors, President Robert S. McNamara discusses the future role of the Bank during a time in which surging oil prices threaten critical development tasks. He examines four themes: the prospects for economic growth and social advance in oil-importing developing countries; a program of structural adjustment that developing countries, industrialized nations, and OPEC countries can take to maximize growth; the need to accelerate the attack on absolute poverty; and the role the World Bank ought to play in the decade ahead.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1972-09-25) McNamara, Robert S.Robert S. McNamara, President of the World Bank, reported on the Bank’s operations in fiscal year 1972 and reviewed the progress of the Five-Year Program for 1969–73. He assessed the current state of development in member countries and outlined the program for the five years 1974–78. He explored the central issue of the relationship of social equity to economic growth. Given the shortfall in official development assistance, the debt problem, and the procrastination of the developed countries in dismantling discriminatory trade barriers, the Second Development Decade’s 6 percent growth target is not going to be met by many nations. The most persistent poverty is that of the low-income strata, roughly the poorest 40 percent of the total population in all development countries—who are trapped in conditions of deprivation. He argues that an urgent task is to reorient development policies to directly attack the poverty of the most deprived 40 percent of the population. Governments must achieve this without abandoning their goals of overall economic growth. Greater priority is needed to establish growth targets in terms of essential humans needs: nutrition, housing, health, literacy and employment, even at the cost of some reduction in the pace of advance in certain narrow and highly privileged sectors whose benefits accrue to the few.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1972-06-08) McNamara, Robert S.Robert S. McNamara, President of the World Bank Group, says the relationship between two fundamental requirements need to be examined: the necessity for economic development; and the preservation of the environment. He outlines the steps the Bank is taking to deal with the ramifications of that relationship and illustrates practical measures that are proving to be both feasible and effective. He suggests the most useful direction for the international development community is to assist in the economic advance of the developing countries while responsibly preserving and enhancing the environment. He points out that the broad statistical evidence is clear that there is dangerously skewed distribution of income both within developing nations, and between the collectively affluent and the collectively indigent nations. He reemphasizes that development cannot succeed unless that massively distorted distribution of income is brought into a reasonable balance. He also suggests that what is needed is the close cooperation of economists and ecologists, of social and physical scientists, of experienced political leaders and development project specialists. He briefs about five essential requirements to assist in preserving and enhancing the environment. First, recognize that economic growth in the developing countries is essential if they are to deal with their human problems. Second, act on the evidence that such growth need not cause unacceptable ecological penalties. Third, assist the developing countries in their choice of a pattern of growth which will yield a combination of high economic gain with low environmental risk. Fourth, provide external support required for that economic advance by moving more rapidly toward meeting the United Nations concessionary aid target and by dismantling and discarding inequitable trade barriers which restrict exports from poorer countries. Fifth, realize that human degradation is the most dangerous pollutant there is. He says that the impetus for this conference is respect for man and his home and that respect can be translated into practical action. The leading edge of that action is to protect man from the one hazard which can injure not only his habitat and his health, but his spirit as well. He concludes that poverty is cruel and senseless, but curable. The task, he urges, is not to create an idyllic environment peopled by the poor, but to create a decent environment peopled by the proud.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1971-10-28) McNamara, Robert S.Robert S. McNamara, President of the World Bank Group, reports that the Bank is operating at a high level of activity. During the first decade, the developing nations succeeded in adding a substantial increment to their very low levels of material wealth and their average rate of growth was appreciably higher at the end of the decade than it had been at the beginning. He suggests that development is not merely the size of the economy, but the quality of life for each member of society. The pursuit of this objective has deep-reaching implications. It is no longer sufficient to strain simply for growth of output. Development has to be seen as a composite of many factors that come together into an effective relationship. It’s a task of great subtlety and complexity. He says that the problems of population, nutrition and employment need higher priority. He recommends a twofold strategy to address these problems. One, efforts to encourage and assist family planning need to be intensified. Second, development programs need to be reshaped to take into account that population is growing rapidly. He concludes that if the work of the U.N. and Bank makes it possible that fewer children die and fewer parents grieve, that there is less poverty and more hope, that there is less waste and more realization of life’s potential, this will be a better and a more peaceful world.