The 1990s and early 2000s saw considerable progress in poverty reduction in developing countries. Today, the Bank Group faces the challenge of helping its client countries sustain such gains in the face of weaker, more uncertain global growth; disparities in development progress; and the increasingly transnational and cross-cutting character of development solutions.

This report draws attention to achievements, including the Bank’s large-scale response to the 2008–09 global economic crisis, relative stability in IFC’s investment performance despite a challenging operational environment, and MIGA's reduced concentration of guarantees in the financial sector.

The report also points to certain challenges:

  • As a consequence of its response to the 2008–09 crisis, the IBRD’s capital headroom precludes significant expansion in lending should another crisis occur.
  • The development outcome ratings of Bank-funded investment projects, as well as for IFC investments in IDA-eligible countries, have recently declined.
  • Outcome ratings for Bank Group country programs have yet to reach the performance targets set by the Bank’s Corporate Secretariat.

 IEG finds that attention to several areas can enhance the Bank’s effectiveness:

  • In light of ongoing economic uncertainty and the Bank Group’s reduced capital headroom, it pays to ensure preparedness for another crisis.
  • Enhancing quality at entry and implementation support could help reverse the decline in project ratings; improving IFC’s work quality can help strengthen its development results.
  • A thorough understanding of specific client circumstances rests on maintaining dialogue with diverse stakeholders and on high-quality analytical work.
  • Effective solutions call for intensified efforts by the Bank Group to work across traditional boundaries—within the institution itself as well as with development partners and in-country stakeholders.
  • IFC needs to proactively manage the shift in its product mix toward short-term instruments, and MIGA needs to strengthen systems and staff skills to match the expansion of its product range.
  • A sharper focus on learning from experience—underpinned by clearer incentives and consistent messages from senior leadership that reinforce a results orientation—is essential if the Bank Group is to effectively address upcoming development challenges.

Video: Results and Performance of the World Bank Group: 2012 Assessment