ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Partial Solace

On taking over at the World Bank, McNamara had announced the targets that he had set for the World Banks fi ve-year McNamara- Phase I plan. The fi rst target was to double the global total of Bank and IDA lending. The target has been exceeded by 28 per cent. The second target was to triple lending to Africa, which had hitherto remained a relatively neglected area by the World Bank group. Here too the target has been exceeded, though by a small margin. The third target was to double lending to Latin America and by coincidence it has also been exceeded by 28 per cent. The fourth target was to quadruple lending for agriculture and this has been exceeded by a small margin. The fi fth major target, which again has been exceeded substantially, was to triple lending for education. Lending to developing countries in Asia has increased by 123 per cent in the last fi ve years and that to developing countries in Europe and Middle East by 225 per cent. The overall lending of the World Bank and IDA together was $12.8 billion in 1969-73 as against $ 5.6 billion in 1964-68. Lending by the World Banks soft loan windows, viz, the IDA, have trebled during 1969-73 over those during 1964-68. India is among the countries which have benefi ted greatly from the IDAs operations in the last two years.

Along with a number of positive developments must be noted the shift in the overall lending operations of the Bank group in favour of the middle income and more affl uent groups among the developing countries. The bulk of humanity, with per capita income below $ 250 per annum, received only 43 per cent of total Bank and IDA loans during 1969-73 and countries with per capita income below $ 120 only about 28 per cent. Latin America and Africa together, with a population less than that of India, received nearly one-third more World Bank and IDA loans during 1969-73 than did the whole of Asia. This unbalanced distribution of assistance stems from the World Bank groups concern with nation states rather than with improving the life of the poorest among mankind.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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