Senior Governance Specialist. Public Speaker. Writer.

The World Bank and Africa's development

In an interview granted to the Paris-based Pan-African weekly « Jeune-Afrique » in November 1965, with an over optimistic tone, George P. Woods, then President of the World Bank predicted a bright future to 17 Africans countries, among the 77 developing ones listed at that time. Those were to be Algeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Gabon, Tunisia, Morocco, Tanzania and Kenya, countries that were considered to be able to reach the economic take-off stage, in 1995. Some others were already seen as problematic and more likely to take a few more generations before reaching that stage. They were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Congo-Kinshasa), Madagascar, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia and Guinea-Conakry. Walt Whitman Rostow’s «  Stages of Economic Development Theory (1960) wasp revalent then, with its tenet of progressive international development steps.

However, more than 50 years now after the wave of African countries’ independences, almost two generations after these very optimistic predictions were made, how did the situation evolve in these countries, and what role the World Bank played in changes - positive and negative- that have occurred along the way, since then? This article provides a point of view on this.

Download the entire article (French only)