By James D. Wolfensohn
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Additional resources for A case for aid: building consensus for development assistance
But while these countries did act along those broad guidelines on development, none of them closely followed any external blueprint for development offered by the Bank or other donors. Yet in all of these cases, development assistance from many sources has supported the transformation. In some cases, advice was more important than lending. In the case of China, for example, aid flows have been dwarfed by inflows of private capital. But development assistance helped pave the way for private-sector growth and international integration—for example, when the World Bank and others provided analysis and advice to help China open its economy to investment, unify its exchange rate, and improve its ports early in the transition period.
It is now generally an effective way of providing strong reform support in countries with adequate policy and institutional frameworks. By the 1990s, adjustment lending was earning higher internal Bank evaluation ratings (as judged by the independent Operations Evaluation Department) than investment lending. And attention to the distributive impact of reforms has improved, although further learning is still necessary. One broad lesson from experience is that reform does not usually succeed without strong local ownership; this lesson has provided the impetus for the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process.
It is now widely accepted that poverty reduction efforts should address poverty in all its dimensions—not only lack of income, but also the lack of health and education, vulnerability to shocks, and the lack of control over their lives that poor people suffer. This understanding of poverty in some cases implies different approaches than in the past—for example, an increased focus on public service delivery to vulnerable groups, as well as greater attention to early disclosure of information that poor people can use.
A case for aid: building consensus for development assistance by James D. Wolfensohn