World Bank President A. W. (Tom) Clausen, who surprised officials at the bank's annual meeting with his announcement of his departure when his term ends next June, said the organization "has the capacity" to deal with the complexities of Third World problems.
Clausen appended a new section to a text written well in advance of the meeting but which leaked over the weekend. In that speech, Clausen had said that the bank is in "robust health" and said it could expand its loans "while still adhering to the rigorous standards we have maintained for so many years."
He predicted that lending volume would grow in future years, and added that "there can be no question that we will need a substantial capital increase." He said that consultations on the specific amount would go forward.
When Clausen decided to make today's address his last major one to the bank's board of governors (there will be brief, traditional windup remarks on Friday), he added a new section in which he said that the bank and the International Finance Corp., which makes loans to private-sector enterprises in developing countries, "are better prepared than ever to take up the challenges that lie ahead."
"I am more than ever convinced that we -- our member countries and the bank -- must ensure that growth in the developing countries is accompanied by programs to alleviate poverty; that a resumption of growth is accompanied by expanded investments in education and social services. We must redouble our efforts in the low income countries -- in Africa and in Asia -- to end stagnation and allow the peoples of these countries to look to the future with hope.
"And we, as an international community, must undertake to reverse the depletion of our forests and the associated degradation of the land. Sustainable growth requires true development of human capital, the alleviation of poverty, and the maintenance of the environment. Improving the quality of life of all who dwell in the developing nations has more dimensions than ever before.