World Bank Chief Calls for Better Governance, Civil Society Participation in Development

The World Bank will not provide direct support to countries that are not transparent with their budget and procurement processes, the Washington-based lender’s chief said on Wednesday (April 6).

“Our message to our clients, whatever their political system, is that you cannot have successful development without good governance and without the participation of your citizens,” Robert Zoellick told an audience at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. 

“We will encourage governments to publish information, enact Freedom of Information Acts, open up their budget and procurement processes, build independent audit functions, and sponsor reforms of justice systems. We will not lend directly to finance budgets in countries that do not publish their budgets or, in exceptional cases, at least commit to publish their budgets within twelve months,” he added.

Zoellick was speaking ahead of the World Bank’s spring meetings, emphasizing the role of citizen participation and better governance in economic development in political crisis-hit Middle East and North Africa. 

“We could give priority to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and in Sub-Saharan Africa. We could back this work with seed capital, and with knowledge exchange and research aimed at improving the enabling environment for social accountability,” he said.

The bank hosted last month a conference on Arab issues that brought together representatives of youth and women’s groups, experts from think tanks, journalists and academics from the Arab region.

>> Robert Zoellick Urges Rethink of World Bank’s Role in MENA

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About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.