San Francisco Chronicle:
Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programs have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries during the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people with stagnating and even declining living standards, according to a report released Thursday by the bank’s autonomous assessment arm.
Among 25 poor countries probed in detail by the bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, only 11 saw reductions in poverty between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, while the other 14 suffered the same or worse rates over that term. The group said the sample is representative of the global picture.
“Achievement of sustained increases in per capita income, essential for poverty reduction, continues to elude a considerable number of countries,” the report declared, singling out as particularly ineffective programs aimed at the rural poor. Roughly half of such efforts from 2001 to 2005 “did not lead to satisfactory results.”
During that period, new loans and credits aimed directly at rural development totaled $9.6 billion, or about one-tenth of total World Bank lending, according to the group.