Friday, August 16, 2013

Change is coming to the World Bank… or is it?

Change is coming to the World Bank… or is it?
By Michael Igoe

Employees are anxiously awaiting what happens next as President Jim Yong Kim's World Bank reform agenda moves from a flurry of proposals down an uncertain path toward implementation.
Already, 43 reform proposals submitted by staff working groups and internal message boards alight with anonymous comments that run the gamut from enthusiastic support to deep skepticism are testing the leadership's ability to manage employee expectations.
The bank's long-awaited transformation took a sudden, unexpected turn when Kim announced the impending departure of two managing directors with more than 50 years of bank experience between them — Caroline Anstey and Pamela Cox — in an internal memo last month.
Kim gave no explanation for their departure in the memo, leading to widespread rumors and speculation as to why they were asked to leave so suddenly, according to several World Bank staff members Devex spoke with in the past few days. Most of the people asked to remain anonymous in order not to run afoul the bank's strict disclosure policies.
Uncertainty seems to abound at the bank these days as employees question whether Kim's efforts to change the bank will result in much-needed reform or just a lot of talk without much action — or a complete overhaul of the bank's organization and strategy that may lead to deep cuts for certain programs and departments.
That said, current and past employees agree: The bank needs change.

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