Changing Environment

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2013 (AFP) – The World Bank must be more selective and flexible in its work as its faces rising financial constraints and challenges from rivals, according to an internal strategy document seen Monday. The choices include greater risk-taking, cutting back on bureaucracy and adapting commercial-like work with the private sector, moves which would move the huge institution beyond its traditional approaches to fostering development.

“To deliver on the value proposition, the WBG (World Bank Group) will need to reposition itself,” said the strategy document, prepared ahead of the bank’s annual meeting in Washington in October.

“Increasing flexibility and speeding up delivery will be key,” it said.

The analysis said the bank is under more criticism from its clients, the world’s poor and middle-income countries, for moving slowly and with unwieldy bureaucratic procedures to get a project or program launched.

In addition, it said, more recently the bank is facing “considerable competition” in providing technical expertise from other unnamed institutions and lenders.

That suggested the bank is feeling the pressure from rising bilateral lending and aid from emerging giants like China, an