As an international development professional, I had difficulty accepting Sebastian Mallaby's descriptions of the World Bank ["What Wolfowitz Faces," op-ed, May 30].
The World Bank has yet to devise policies and programs that reduce poverty without exacerbating the associated challenges in developing countries. Moreover, given its lack of accountability to any outside institution, very little of its investments can be said to have had an impact.
Mallaby accepts the Washington dogma he later critiques ("obvious things such as . . . a focus on exports") and fails to mention the distorting effects these policies have had: the exacerbation of inequities in access to dynamic sectors; the skewing of government policies against poor, rural populations; and the fostering of corporatist regimes fueled by corruption.
Mallaby's observations of the World Bank staff are equally perplexing. Most development professionals would describe World Bank staff members as good at telling their clients, host-country governments, "what" to do, but poor and even less interested in telling them "how" to do it.
Finally, Mallaby's last paragraph attempts to invalidate and dismiss the efforts of those who, myself included, have tried to hold the bank accountable for the consequences of its programs and policies. Ironically, it was these efforts that enabled James Wolfensohn to attempt to reform the World Bank during his tenure.
I greatly appreciate Mallaby's columns on international development but would appreciate it if The Post would offer more balanced, empirically grounded views on the subject.
-- Aaron Chassy
Pretoria, South Africa