The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Could the Bank do its work better?

Under James Wolfensohn the World Bank has beaten off influential enemies through polished public relations, but there are still widespread doubts about the effectiveness of Bank policies. Projects continue to fail and adjustment lending has in many cases been granted without proper safeguards. Bank insiders claim that programmes are increasingly effective but critics point to the weakness of Bank models for measuring success.

Self-appointed sophisticates among Washington's chattering class have been mercilessly sniping at secretary of the US Treasury Paul O'Neill for his alleged gaffes since the Bush administration took office. They ignore one key aspect: his well-deserved reputation for getting results. O'Neill, after all, spent 23 years coming out on top in the dog-eat-dog world of American business: first as vice-president and president of International Paper, and then as chairman of Alcoa. And already he has added a feather to his cap since arriving in Washington by spearheading the president's push to move a tax cut through Congress. The result: new legislation signed into law months ahead of schedule. That was no mean feat for an administration that supposedly lacked a mandate.

Today, O'Neill is the point man for the World Bank's largest shareholder. And the Bank, to his mind, hasn't been performing as well as it should. "The World Bank group alone has lent $470 billion since its inception and $225 billion in just the last decade," O'Neill told the Economic Club of Detroit in June. "We have too little to show for it."

A mixed record

Few would argue the point with O'Neill.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree