I’d like to thank you for your chiding of the U.S. refusal to go the limit on the World Bank’s International Development Assn. replenishment, in your editorial (Aug. 31), “Global Cheapskates.”
As you pointed out, this portion of World Bank lending directly affects the world’s poorest and, thus, has the power to alleviate much suffering and loss of life.
In September, some members of Congress will be meeting with new World Bank president Barber Conable to discuss how IDA lending can be even more effective in reaching the poorest people abroad.
Currently, IDA lending in the area of primary health care (only about 1% of total lending), stimulation of agricultural projects benefiting a country’s poor (which has fallen since 1981 from 18% to about 12%) and other programs combines to form a small percentage of total World Bank lending. Because these programs go more directly to the truly needy, they need to be expanded to form a greater share of World Bank resources.
We need to continue to refocus our resources from a trickle-down theory of economic assistance to direct aid to the poor, which benefits them in the short-term while aiding in self-sufficiency. The other fosters bureaucratic waste, economic projects that benefit few or the already well off at high costs, or fosters misguided projects like a dam in the Sudan, which increased incidences of malaria.
We would do well to encourage a high level of IDA funds and a higher percentage for simple, cost-effective programs that save lives and promote self-sufficiency.
The World Bank, with its huge potential impact should stop squabbling and get to the task at hand.