Mixed response to World Bank’s new thrust on linking aid and graft busting

SINGAPORE, September 18, 2006 (LBO) – World Bank’s policy body Monday asked the bank’s president not to lose sight of reducing poverty, as the global lender ups the tempo to curb corruption and promote good governance through lending programs. We strongly endorse the Bank’s role and mission is to eradicate poverty among middle income and emerging market countries, which are home to 70 percent of the world’s poor, Columbia Finance Minister and chairman of the development committee Alberto Carrasquilla said.

But we have to stay involved with governments and take action [against graft], even when it is difficult, we shouldn’t turn our backs on the poor, Carrasquilla said on the sidelines of this week’s IMF World Bank meetings here.

The Development Committee, Carrasquilla says, supports the Bank’s “engagement in governance and anti-corruption work” but said it would reviewed again when the committee meets in Washington next April.

The Bank’s president Paul Wolfowitz plans to link future aid so long as beneficiary countries demonstrate good governance, like adopting transparent public procurements and makes efforts to stamp out corruption.

In principle, we are not for cutting back on lending, but to inc