Strengths and Weaknesses of the World Bank

The World Bank is an international organization dedicated to giving developing nations financial advice and research to help their economic advancement. According to the World Bank’s website they are, “a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries” (worldbank.org). Just like many other organizations, there are strengths and weaknesses to the World Bank. A strength of the World Bank is that justice and the rule of law are central to its core agenda in ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. This international organization also has plans to help governments achieve universal health coverage within the next ten years. One of the World Bank’s major goals is to help under-developed countries flourish without putting them in a bunch of debt. On the other hand, the World Bank can seem kind of controversial with the projects they fund to “help” poverty struck countries. The World Bank causes more issues than they do to help these under-developed countries. There are a lot of cases where the World Bank funded under-developed countries and made them worse after the project was started and completed. Though this seems like the World Bank still helps these countries by funding projects for them, they actually are pushing the countries back farther into poverty. People across the world sadly don’t fully understand what the World Bank does and never pay attention to what they are funding. The World Bank, like many other organizations, has had a lot of success, big plans for the future of countries, and plenty of failures.

Justice and the rule of law are central to the World Bank’s agenda for ending extreme poverty in under-developed countries. The World Bank’s work in justice lies within the Governance Global Practice. They focus on improving the performance of justice sector institutions, advising criminal justice reform and citizen security and promote justice in development sectors such as land, urban development, and extractives. The World Bank applies public sector management experts to agencies in all areas of the justice systems, like human resources and budgeting. An essential part of the crime prevention and enforcement comes from the effective delivery of services in the justice sector. The World Bank helps advise teams with a wide range of criminal justice sector institutions. Policemen, prosecutors, corrections, criminal courts, and public defenders are examples of what the World Bank helps advise on the criminal justice reform. They collaborate with other World Bank Global Practices on crime prevention also. Crime in under-developed countries is horrible. One of the best ways to help these countries out of poverty is to have a justice system to prosecute those who do wrong. A good justice system will add a decent amount of power to the countries and help point them in the right direction. The World Bank works across sectors to support meditation rights, address grievances, and promote accountability. They focus on issues of land, extractives, and public infrastructure. Housing and land are very important assets to the poor. Secure land rights can help increase food security, urbanization, and boost prosperity. Land governance can reduce tension and conflict among the poverty struck countries. The World Banks helps these countries start keeping good and easy to follow land records to ensure that the countries don’t fall back into the same poverty holes they were in before. The World Bank focuses on justice and the rule of law in these countries because it is a giant step out of poverty and out of conflict within the countries themselves.

Health coverage is extremely important to every country. Without hospitals, the population number would fall drastically instead of rising. In these under-developed countries, the citizens face different health issues than those in America or other well-developed countries. The countries who face poverty issues, have horrible food supplies and don’t have clean water to drink. This is a big issue for their citizens because they become malnourished and very dehydrated. Their focus areas are pandemic preparedness, nutrition, reproductive, maternal, infectious diseases, and vaccination. Pandemics affect many countries, pose health risks, and economic risks. Economic risks will make the countries step backward instead of forward and they will become worse yet again. Malnutrition leads to many other issues such as delayed growth of young children and the lack of nutrients will cause people to become sick and be sick longer. The World Bank is working towards helping governments achieve universal health coverage (UHC) within the next ten years. This has potential to transform the well-being of these individuals and societies. A lot of countries are burdened by high rates of maternal morality and high fertility. “The lack of women empowerment in sexual and reproductive rights makes them more vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases” (worldbank.org). Health of women and their children is extremely important for these under-developed countries. Even though global progress has been substantial over 16,000 children under the age of five still die every day. The World Bank is working to make sure these children grow by meeting their nutritional and development needs. Healthy women, children, and men are substantial in economic growth of a country. Infectious diseases have continued to have major health and economic costs. These diseases tend to grab onto people in poverty more because they cannot afford or even have the resources to get vaccinated. The World Bank is working towards getting people vaccinated so they can live longer, healthier lives. This international organization wants to provide outstanding health coverage to those who have absolutely nothing.

Though the World Bank seems to have a lot of wonderful strengths, they have one weakness that almost destroys everything they stand for. The World Bank is very controversial when it comes to the goods and services they provide. There are hundreds of cases where the World Bank has gone to help an under-developed country out of poverty, and have completely failed and even made the issues worse than before. A big issue with the poverty struck countries is, they have only lived a poverty level lifestyle. When the World Bank decides to go and help them, these countries are ecstatic. However, once the World Bank lets them off the leash, these countries either abuse their new lifestyle, or they return back into poverty because nobody is there to help anymore. In 1981, the World Bank helped fund Brazil’s Polonoroeste development program. They improved the main highway into the forest, subdivided the land, and granted ownership of the land to settlers. This sounds absolutely amazing for the Amazonian state of Rondonia but, this program caused intense migration which resulted in the wide-spread destruction of the rainforest. Another case was the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The World Bank helped fund it and people are saying it will now increase pollution in that area, damage the forest, and ruin their water supply. Lastly, the largest complaint about the World bank is its role in causing more debt for these now developing countries. The loans they provide are intended to help countries flourish, but many of these countries take on years and years of debt due to the interest they must pay back to the Bank. So, it seems as if when the World Bank decides to help a country, the end result of the funded project is failure. Does the World Bank even actually do any good for these suffering, under-developed countries? According to their history of projects, it doesn’t look like they do a whole lot of good.

The World Bank has a lot of good strengths. Their main goal is to help countries who live in poverty with economic advancement and they give them financial advice. The Bank strives to help under-developed countries out of poverty. They want to help these countries justice system, their health concerns and coverage, and help suffering children. They fund a lot of projects to help colonize the countries, such as granting land ownership. Helping the justice system helps the countries with crime rates and health benefits helps the people of the country live longer and healthier lives. The Bank wants to make sure the death rates of children decrease and that they can grow to be healthy and not be malnourished like before. However, after the projects are over and the country is left with interest filled loans, the countries tend to get worse than they were before. There have been many cases where the Bank’s funded projects have forced these countries into extreme pollution, less drinking water, and more people which leads to more sickness and rising crime rates. The World Bank can be an amazing international organization that helps countries across the globe flourish like they need to, but it doesn’t seem as if the World Bank does enough research on the long-term effects of what their projects do to these countries. Overall, it doesn’t seem like the World Bank is the best international organization it can be. Not every project they fund fails like the examples before, but the bad experiences seem to outweigh the good ones. For being nearly 75 years old, the World Bank should have a handle on the issues they can help and the issues they can cause.

Works Cited

  1. “Justice and Rule of Law.” World Bank, www.worldbank.org/en/topic/governance/brief/justice-rights-and-public-safety.
  2. “Why Is the World Bank Controversial.” Globalization101, www.globalization101.org/why-is-the-world-bank-controversial/.
  3. “World Bank Group – International Development, Poverty, & Sustainability.” World Bank, www.worldbank.org/.
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