“We have taken all feedback received and have employed an institutional working group to produce new ways of helping MICs. “We are currently finalising a plan of action to guide our engagement with MICs in Africa,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of the bank’s MDs, at a recent meeting.
“The main purpose for the Africa MIC plan of action is to stress the need for the World Bank to provide better services and to move quickly from development lending to a development partnership in MICs,” said World Bank vice-president for Africa Obiageli Ezekwesili.
The Africa MIC plan of action recommends that a different business model be undertaken for a three-year period; the plan of action is currently practised within two pilot projects to combat the HIV/Aids pandemic in Botswana and Swaziland.
The World Bank notes that it has realised that MICs value the input it gives them, not only as a provider of financing, but also as a provider of knowledge services. The World Bank’s four focus areas include improving client responsiveness, expanding the range and use of financial products, enhancing knowledge services, and strengthening synergies between different parts of the World Bank.
“Important progress has been made on this agenda. As a result of recent reforms, the World Bank has drastically cut back on the costs and time needed to prepare projects, extended lending to MICs in local currency, and provided lending to subsovereign entities,” explained another World Bank MD, Juan Jose Daboub.
“We are seeking innovation in the way we traditionally do business,” said the global lender’s vice- president for the Middle East and North Africa, Daniela Gressani, pointing to ongoing pilots for the use of country systems in procurement in Morocco, and in environmental safeguards in Egypt and Tunisia.