Internal Report Questions World Bank Focus on Water

Countries with the worst water troubles received the smallest share of World Bank funds for water-related development, a study by the bank’s independent evaluation arm found.

Countries like Haiti, Niger and Ethiopia ranked low on a water poverty index but received only approximately USD20 per capita from the World Bank, according to the report. On the other hand, Guyana was classified a “water-rich” country but received more than USD140 per capita in World Bank funding, the Washington Post says.

The report notes that while the World Bank spent more than USD54 billion on water-related projects from 1997 to 2001, there was little correlation between how the funds were allocated and the extent of recipient countries’ water troubles.

Meanwhile, Jamal Saghir, the World Bank director for energy, transport and water, said the independent report overlooked the rapid shift of bank priorities on water projects. He explained that approximately 60 percent of active World Bank funding for water projects is directed to water-poor nations.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.