ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Growth, Poverty and Equity

The resignation of Ravi Kanbur as head of the team preparing the World Bank's World Development Report 2000/01 suggests that, the convulsions in east Asia in 1997 notwithstanding, there is little willingness among the high priests of the Washington Consensus to rethink the application of its tenets to the world at large.

The World Bank, embarrassed no end by the controversy over the exit of its chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz, last November, has just had another high-profile departure. Ravi Kanbur, a Cornell University professor who headed the team for the World Development Report 2000/01, has walked out just months ahead of the finalisation of the report. The report, intended for release this September to coincide with the IMF-World Bank annual meeting, has as its theme, ‘Attacking poverty’. This is a theme that the Bank, by convention, visits once every 10 years.

The Bank is not likely to be amused by media reports hinting that attempts on the part of US treasury secretary Larry Summers to modify some of the central messages in the report may have been behind Kanbur’s decision to leave. For the record, the Bank insists that the final report will reflect its own views, not those of the US treasury. It also says that there will be no major changes to the draft and that the key themes in the strategy for poverty alleviation – opportunity, security and empowerment – will be retained.

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