Help Change the Lives of Young Girls in One of Africa’s Largest URBAN Slums

April 24, 2013

Help the Uweza Foundation meet the “Raise for Women Challenge” sponsored by The Huffington Post, Skoll Foundation, and Half The Sky Movement by donating any amount through Crowdrise at either or . A donation is any amount whatsoever will be very much appreciated.

If you believe as I do that developing girls’ self-esteem and providing them with advanced formal education is an important contribution to breaking the cycle of poverty, please donate today. The Challenge is open for only a short period of time – from today (April 24th) to Thursday, June 6th.

The sponsors of this Challenge will donate up to an additional $25 thousand depending on the amount raised by Uweza (or other NGOs) during the short time available under the terms of this fund-raising competition.

Information, films, and photos focused on Uweza – a US tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Foundation registered in the State of Illinois – supports several “demand-responsive” programs assisting children and women in Kibera, a slum neighboring Nairobi, Kenya, is also available at either of those two websites.

Uweza has very low overheads and accomplishes an awful lot of good on an annual budget of only about $150 thousand a year. As a former World Bank staff person used to dealing in much larger sums, I cannot express how impressed I am by the due diligence, record keeping, and fundamental accomplishments of this small NGO.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I am one of only five (5) completely unpaid volunteer Uweza Board Members, the only male, and by far the oldest.

Best Wishes, Jerry

Kenya Election Results: Empowering Kenyan Girls is the Next Step for a Peaceful Kenya

April 10, 2013

As many of you know, I am on the Board of a US-based Non-Profit (the Uweza Aid Foundation) that assists women and children in Kibera, the largest “slum” — or preferably non-formal settlement — at the periphery of Naroibi, Kenya. With that in mind, I believe you will find this article  — …Empowering Kenyan Girls is the Next Step for a Peaceful Kenya both interesting and informative.

Written by fellow Uweza Board member Amy Augustin, the article focuses primarily on the need for, and results of, Uweza’s collaboration with No Means No Worldwide to provide a two-day self-defense and life skills training course to more than thirty girls at Uweza’s Kibera community center. This is an important program in the face of an epidemic of gender-based violence in non-formal settlements like Kibera throughout much of the world.

Clearly, Uweza’s work in Kibera is entirely consistent with the “demand-driven” approach advocated my blog International Development Should….

My Review of New Biography — William Egan Colby and the CIA

April 9, 2013

William Egan Colby was the highly visible Director of Central Intelligence during 1973–1975 following a career in the CIA beginning in its predecessor OSS during WWII; the Agency’s head of clandestine efforts in Sweden and Italy during the 1950s; Deputy Chief  and then Chief of Station in South Viet Nam (1959–1962); Chief of its Far East Division (1962–1967), and again in Saigon as deputy, and then civilian head of the American counter-insurgency program within Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) from 1968 to 1971.

My review of the new biography — Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA — written by Randall Woods was published by the New York Journal of Books on June 6, 2013. Although not without a few minor flaws, this book should be read by anyone interested in either political biographies and/or the recent history of America’s foreign policy.

UPDATE — Interview of International Scholar in Cairo 2 Years Later

February 15, 2013

This Post is a follow-up to one published two years ago (February 6, 2011) entitled “Interview Internatl. Scholar Cairo Today (Sun. Feb. 6) Although at that time the scholar interviewed was not identified for “reasons of personal security,” this time she is revealed as Dr. Ann Lesch, professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, who has lived in Egypt for nearly seventeen years now. This follow-up interview was conducted by Dr. Ja Jahannes; as was the case the first time. If interested in this update of her views two years later, just click here on


January 9, 2013

Introduction 1

After a significant delay, this blog post continues the narrative about the earliest years of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). One of the reasons for the delay has been the time required to collect, analyze, and format a substantial amount of primary source data. Given the amount of data presented in this post, I encourage readers to dig deeper by clicking on the highlighted Links.*

This discussion covers two eventful decades from 1960 through 1979 and is divided into three segments. This posting is Segment A. It describes the integration of the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and United Nations Special Fund (UNSF) into the new UNDP; the transition from project-specific to “country programming;” and the relabeling of “technical assistance” (TA) to “technical cooperation” (TC). Subsequent segments will address financing and reorganizing UN development efforts (Segment B) and attempts to move beyond conventional assumptions about development and the role of UNDP (Segment C). Following the posting of Segment C, the next full article in series will focus on the increasingly collaborative relationship between UNDP and the World Bank during those same two decades.

International Context

The two decades beginning January 1, 1960 and ending December 31, 1979 witnessed a continuation of Cold-War tensions between the United States and its allies and “Communist bloc2 even as the United Nations (UN) undertook its fifth through thirteenth Peace-Keeping operation (three of which are still underway);3 conflicts in the Middle East continued to bedevil relationships among the United States, its NATO allies, and Israel;4 and the international economy transitioned to floating exchange rates5 and the beginning of the current cycle of financial crises that have occurred at roughly ten-year intervals ever since. Other international events worth noting included the successful completion of India’s first underground nuclear test (1974) as well as a dramatic increase in airplane hijackings and other terrorist attacks that have continued since (although from a variety of different sources).

But the defining characteristic of this period was the transition of 53 territories from colonial to independent sovereign-states (Figure 1); states that now account for about 11 percent of the World’s total population.6

That was not always an unalloyed good. At least in part for reasons discussed in previous blog posts, legal independence was followed in many of these new sovereign-states by the imposition of military or other authoritarian one-party regimes — at least partially in response to the wide-spread but erroneous belief that economic development within “underdeveloped countries” required a level of political stability that could only be provided through long-term planning and disciplined implementation.

At the end of the 1950s, only 82 sovereign-states were members of the UN, of which 65 were also members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Those membership levels amounted to only 42 and 35 percent of their respective memberships today. Nonetheless, by the end of the 1970s; UN membership had increased by another 85 percent. IBRD membership increased even more dramatically; more than doubling (103%; Figure 2). And by the end of that decade, a full 76 percent of UN and 79 percent of IBRD members were composed of non-European or “non-European derivative” countries.7

From EPTA & UNSF to UNDP   

The first 25 years in the life of both UN development-oriented entities and the World Bank Group were characterized by substantial intellectual and organizational experimentation and jockeying for position. By contrast, the two decades reviewed here witnessed attempts to consolidate the structure and staffing of both organizations and recognition of substantial complementarities between them.


As discussed in earlier posts, the period prior to 1960 witnessed a proliferation of various UN entities driven by new thinking about “development” objectives and approaches within a fundamentally changed international political framework. It was in that atmosphere that UNDP’s two predecessor agencies were established; the Extended Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) began operations in 1950 to provide technical assistance services, fellowships to citizens of “developing” countries, and limited amounts of equipment required by advisors for demonstration and training purposes. The Special Fund (UNSF) followed nine years later (1959) to finance initial pre-investment activities in a manner that would attract sufficient investment capital to jump-start or accelerate economic growth in “underdeveloped” countries.8 It did not take long, however, before several voices within the Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) and the UN General Assembly began to argue for a merger of EPTA and UNSF.

Indeed, within only three years after UNSF was established, advocates of merger were arguing that by pooling resources and integrating personnel and organizational structures, policy formulation would be unified, overall planning could be integrated, duplications eliminated, procedures simplified, administrative costs reduced, and the time frame during which technical assistance might be required would be shortened. Further, the integration of all headquarter’s technical assistance staff would facilitate a more coherent representation of UN development interests within its member-states.9

That view was not unanimous however; at least not at the outset. UN specialized agencies did not support the prospect of centralized authority. And the Soviet Union and its allies were afraid that a new combined agency would be dominated by the United States.10

Nevertheless, in response to a report submitted by a UN designated group of “independent experts,”11 the General Assembly authorized establishment of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the unified successor of both EPTA and UNSF on November 22, 1965 and it was officially launched January 1, 1966.

Priorities Proliferate

During its initial years, UNDP’s strategic priorities expanded dramatically beyond its predecessors’ four areas of interest.12 During its very first year, UNDP’s inherited portfolio had grown by another one hundred and thirty-seven approved projects. But that expansion was not accompanied by increased financial support from United Nation’s members. Instead, annual authorizations by UNDP fell dramatically immediately after its establishment in 1966; a situation that continued for another decade (Figures 3 and 4). 

Nonetheless, by 1968, the list of so-called official “priorities” had quadrupled to no less than sixteen distinct activity areas and approximately 3,000 large-scale pre-investment and small-scale technical assistance projects were underway in about 130 member-states and colonial territories.13

That lack of congruence between real financial constraints and the proliferation of priority activity areas was due, at least in part, to the fact that although EPTA and UNSF staff and programs had been assigned to a single UNDP Administrator, distinctions continued to be made between them for both fund-raising and operational purposes – a situation that continued until January 1, 1972.14 On that date, and in response to yet another study commissioned by the UN Secretariat, both programs were finally fully integrated. That also marked the year in which UNDP became the “developing world’s” largest multilateral provider of technical and pre-investment assistance.


The study that had been commissioned by the UN Secretariat referenced above had also recommended that UNDP move from a conventional focus on discrete projects toward a broader “country-programming” approach. That recommendation, consistent with the prevailing emphasis on long-term planning, reflected a more fundamental change — from focusing on separate requests for project-specific assistance to a primary emphasis on broader more strategic, development objectives. The hope was that a broader strategic perspective would lead to mutually reinforcing synergies across sectors. That approach more closely reflected EPTA’s earlier approach to allocating technical assistance than UNSF’s project-specific quality competition model. In any event, UNDP began to introduce country-programming during its first year as a fully integrated agency (1972).

Indicative Planning Figures (IPFs)

The objectives of country-programming were to be achieved through “integrated strategic planning” for each individual client country in response to priorities supposedly established by recipient governments themselves. Allocation of grant resources would, in turn, be based on “indicative planning figures” (IPFs) — i.e., estimates of UNDP resources made available to each country (or other regional, inter-regional or global program) during five-year planning cycles. Discrete projects would need to be justified within the parameters of those over-arching five-year planning frameworks.

The emphasis on integrated strategic planning required the improvement of institutionalized capacities to conduct effective public and financial administration and statistical data gathering. It also began to shift attention to such cross-cutting issues as the role of women in development (WID), a focus that emerged in a serious way beginning during the latter 1970s. Indeed, by 1977 detailed guidelines about how to increase the participation of women in UNDP-supported projects had been issued.15 Ironically, those innovations were most often introduced during the early years within lower-income countries with the least capacity (or political interest) to implement them.

From 1st to 2nd Planning Cycles

The beginning of its first five-year planning cycle (1972-1976) began auspiciously with nineteen country programs prepared and ready for launch. In combination with other funds approved by its Governing Council,16 UNDP’s planned expenditures totaled $1.5 billion for this first five-year cycle. However, by the beginning of that cycle’s fifth year (1976), UNDP had accumulated a deficit of $40 million, had almost exhausted its operational reserve, and was suffering from the world-wide inflationary devaluation of the financial pledges on which its operations depended. That, in turn, raised questions about UNDP’s ability to continue to operate at that level – questions that were at least temporarily overcome through the mobilization of extraordinary funds pledged by several member-states to support UNDP projects. Indeed, those specially pledged funds almost met UNDP’s originally planned financial target for the entire first programming cycle (falling short by only $700 thousand), avoided any need for UNDP to retreat from supporting the full sixty-six approved country programs during that cycle, and enabled it to move forward with another sixty-six country programs ready for approval at the beginning of the second cycle (1977-1981).

But before moving the discussion forward here, it is important to note that UNDP was not a particularly large actor in the overall world of “official development aid” (ODA) (Figures 5 and 6).17 During the entire period from 1970 through 1979 (the first decade for which sufficient comparative data is available), UNDP’s share of net “official development” grants and other concessional aid was only three percent (Figures 7 and 8). This decade also witnessed the beginning of the World Bank’s increasingly important place in the overall concessional lending arena. By 1979, the World Bank’s share of overall concessional grants and loans – not including the larger amount of non-concessional lending to middle-income countries – had increased to 31 percent from 18 percent at the beginning of that decade.

Given UNDP’s reliance on funding largely from the same cast of countries as those providing the bulk of bi-lateral aid and funding of other UN system entities, it is not surprising that its policies adhered fairly closely to the broader norms of that constituency. Although UNDP did begin to amass sufficient credibility on its own to embark on a few new path-breaking initiatives that other agencies followed, its overall approach was more evolutionary than revolutionary. A good example of adherence to conventional approaches was retaining direct responsibility for implementing the technical assistance and pre-investment projects financed by it and utilization of project-management units.   

“By-Pass” Model

Although incrementally reinforcing the strategic planning role of recipient governments, UNDP-financed activities continued to be implemented directly by the UN and its specialized agencies rather than those governments. That also contributed toward the already growing tendency to establish temporary project management units outside of recipient governments’ established ministerial structures.

In an attempt to counter that trend, UNDP promulgated its “New Dimensions in UNDP Technical Co-operation” during 1975 to “free the Programme’s joint planning with Governments from the traditional project package of foreign experts, fellowships, equipment and Government personnel.”18 Those new dimensions were also intended to shift lead responsibility for implementing UNDP-financed projects directly to recipient governments by 1977. Nonetheless, the practice of maintaining separate donor-financed project-management units (PMUs) – often termed the “by-pass” model — continues to this day. Discussion of the many reasons why donors’ – both UNDP and many others — continued the utilization of separate project-specific management units is beyond the purview of this blog post. And a rather large literature on this subject already exists.19

The introduction of Integrated strategic planning at the country-level also reinforced UNDP’s commitment to increasingly decentralize many of its planning and support tasks to its rapidly increasing number of field offices; 104 of which existed by 1974. The role of headquarters in New York was to be transformed into supporting those field offices and planning and managing cross-country regional and inter-regional activities.

From Technical Assistance to Technical Cooperation

The provision of “experts11 and educational and technical training “fellowships” had been referred to as “technical assistance” (TA) throughout the 1950s. However, by 1959, the governments of many recipient countries were arguing that “technical co-operation” (TC) would be a more appropriate term. In response, EcoSoc unanimously approved a resolution to that effect on December 22, 1960. From that date until about 2006 — when the term “Capacity Development” was introduced to signify a further shift “from the use of expatriate technical cooperation personnel to the nurturing of national leadership and expertise20 — the term “technical cooperation” was in general use by United Nations agencies. Nonetheless, many bi-lateral aid agencies, the WB Group, and IMF continue to use the term “technical assistance.”

In 1965, EcoSoc delegated responsibility for formulating policy for all United Nations’ technical cooperation to UNDP’s Governing Council, and UNDP increased its advocacy and support of technical co-operation among developing countries (“TCDC”) throughout the 1970s. But it was not until 1980 that UNDP’s Governing Council issued official detailed guidelines to guide the UN System’s technical cooperation efforts.21 That enhanced UNDP role eventually led to its claim to responsibility for coordination of all development assistance provided by multilateral agencies within each recipient country.

Distribution of UNDP Technical Cooperation  

Between 1972 and 1976, UNDP employed an annual average of about 10,000 experts to work in recipient countries (Figure 9) and provided 28,200 fellowships. But over the entire period from 1960 to 1979, the annual numbers were very uneven. The lowest number of experts (3,306) was provided during 1960, grew to a high of 20,198 in 1971, and declined again until by the end of 1979 only about half of the 1971 number (10,396) were in the field. UNDP’s funding of experts exceeded $1 billion for the first time during 1975; half-way through that period of decline.22

Experts: Sectoral Distributions. Agriculture accounted for 24 percent of UNDP projects approved during 1972 to 1981; down from 35 percent during 1969. Nonetheless, agriculture continued to be a major focus even as the industrial sector’s share of allocations grew to 21 percent during that same period. But with reference to the provision of experts, UNDP increasingly directed its assistance toward “general economic and social policy and planning.” Focusing on a fairly wide-range of technical assistance “expertise11 — including evaluating proposed country programs; development planning and pre-investment studies; coordinating international emergency responses to natural or man-made disasters; establishing and strengthening education, training, and research centers focused on teacher training and adaptation of modern technologies (especially water pumps, small-scale sanitation infrastructure, and appropriate alternative cooking stoves); and non-formal in-service training and formal graduate level education to serving government staff – authorized allocations for economic and social policy formulation and planning increased from 10 percent during the first cycle (1972-1976) to 17 percent during the second (1977-1981).

Recipient Regions. The geographical distribution of UNDP’s assistance was fairly constant throughout the 1960s and 1970s; except for Europe and the Middle East (Figure 10). Beginning in 1962, Africa consistently received the largest share; between 23 and 40 percent. Asia eclipsed Africa only twice (1963 and 1978) while dropping below Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) only once (1966). Overall, Africa received 31 percent of UNDP’s total assistance from 1960 through 1979, followed by Asia (26%), LAC (21%), and Europe and the Middle East (16%) — global, inter-regional, and regional programs received the remaining six percent.

Experts: Countries of Origin. In 1972, UNDP introduced new recruitment and training policies to increase the number of staff from developing countries. Nonetheless, UNDP continued to rely predominantly on European and European-derivative7 countries as the source for “experts11 assigned to recipient countries (Figures 11 and 12).

During the period under review here, the United Kingdom accounted for between 28 percent (1960) and 32 percent (1965) of all TC provided by European experts (Figure 13) while the second largest European provider, France, followed behind within a range between 19 percent (1977) and 25 percent (1973). Those two countries together accounted for between 50 percent (1977) and 54 percent (1973) of all European “experts11 provided during the period under review here (Figure 14). And two “European-derivative”7 countries — the United States and Canada — also provided between twelve percent (1966 and 1969) and 16 percent (1960, 1974, and 1975). Indeed, the United States alone provided 11 percent of all UNDP TC during this same period; second only to the United Kingdom (Figure 15).

India’s dominance as a provider of UNDP experts from Asia is also clear during this period (Figure 16); accounting for between 30% (1971) and 43% (1978) of all TC provided by Asian experts between 1960 and 1979 (Figure 17). That was essentially equal to all other Asian countries combined (excluding Australia and Japan). India was also the only “non-Western” country to rank among the top five providers of UNDP and predecessor TC (Figures 18 and 19).

But it should be noted that India’s “experts11 were clearly significantly “western” in their individual educations, economic orientation, and acceptance of professional norms. And India and Australia alone accounted for between 48 percent (1971) and 58 percent (1961, 1978) of all Asian experts during this period.

By contrast with Europe, Asia and the Middle East, there was no clustering of “experts11 among citizens of Latin American or Caribbean countries (Figures 20 and 21); first-ranked Chile fluctuated between 14 percent and 22 percent most years and only once accounted for upwards of 30 percent (1960). The second largest Latin American or Caribbean provider, Argentina, followed with a range between 13 percent (1961) and 24 percent (1972). Nonetheless, those two largely European-derivative7 countries together accounted for more than 40 percent of the region’s UNDP financed-experts for almost half (4/10) of the years under review here.

The total number of Soviet “experts11 engaged in UNDP TC exceeded those of any other Communist-party state during the twenty-year period under review here (Figure 22). But that number is misleading in at least two respects. First, the total number of experts from the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies accounted for only seven percent of total UNDP TC during this period; new authorizations for experts from the Soviet Union and its European allies fluctuating between four percent and nine percent during any one year (Figure 23). Second, although the Soviet Union provided almost as much TC as all other Communist-party states combined during the 1960s, its dominance declined during the 1970s when Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland increased their shares significantly (Figures 24 and 25). Indeed, Czechoslovakia alone exceeded the number of Soviet “experts11 during 1969 and 1970 while Poland took the lead in 1976 and maintained it throughout the rest of that decade).

As for the Middle East, Egypt, Israel, and Syria alone provided more experts than all other countries within that region combined (Figure 26). Egypt alone never accounted for less than 31 percent (1960) of all Middle Eastern experts. Israel lagged behind from a low of 13 percent (1960) and high of 26 percent (1975). Those two countries combined accounted for more than half of all Middle Eastern experts throughout the nineteen years between 1961 and 1979 and exceeded 70 percent during five of those years (Figure 27).

Sudan clearly dominated among the relatively few Sub-Saharan African country-providers of UNDP experts; accounting for almost a third of the experts provided by nine independent African countries, apartheid South Africa, and the British colony of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (i.e., Zimbabwe and Malawi)23 combined (Figure 28). And with respect to South Africa and British Rhodesia and Nyasaland, it should be noted that attitudes toward recruitment of experts from among those relatively small European elite populations living in Africa changed during the 1960s and 1970s. As late as 1960, of the only 32 TC “experts11 from Africa employed by UN/EPTA, 17 (53.1%) were from South Africa and 4 (12.5%) were from Rhodesia and Nyasaland. By the end of the 1970s, that reliance on “European” elites had been reversed.     

Nonetheless, even though Sudan was the dominant provider of UNDP-financed African experts during this period, it never accounted for more than 18.9% (1967) of all such experts. And from a broader global perspective, Sudanese never exceeded 7/10th of one percent of “experts11 worldwide; second rank Tunisia never ranked higher than 6/10th of a percent; and third ranked Ghana’s highest contribution equaled 3/10th of a percent (Figure 29 and 30). Those three top-ranked African countries together accounted for only between 6/10th (1963) and one percent (1976) of UNDP-financed experts worldwide during the period reviewed here.

Experts: Countries of Assignment. Beginning in 1962, the Sub-Saharan Africa Region was the destination of more UNDP-financed experts annually than any other region (except 1965; Figure 31). Indeed, except that year and the next it received 33-40 percent (Figure 32). Asia was the primary destination of experts during 1960, 1961, and 1965, but fell to third place from 1973 to 1976 and again during 1979. A significant number of experts were also assigned to Latin America, accounting for a full 25 percent of the total in 1979, while the Soviet Union and its allies never accounted for more than 3 percent.  

Fellowships: Sectoral Distributions. During the first years following the transition to integrated UNDP programming, the number of short-term training, study tours, and longer-term graduate education fellowships declined substantially; from about 8,500 during 1968 to about 6,000 during 1969. But by 1978, the number had increased to 13,457; declining a bit to 12,354 the following year.

By contrast with the provision of experts, no sectors consistently dominated the allocation of fellowships during the entire two decades under review here (Figure 33); a full 52 percent of which was for unspecified “education” and “skills training (Figure 34).” The most that can be said is that an emphasis on public works fellowships during the early 1960s began a shift toward an emphasis on social activities and welfare during the latter half of that decade.

Geographic Distribution of Fellowship Recipients. By 1961, both Africa and Asia emerged as the dominant priority regions for educational and skill training fellowships (Figure 35); accounting for 56 percent of total fellowships provided during those two decades (Figure 36). Although those two regions traded up and back between the most and next most number of fellowships between 1961 and 1975, Asia took pride of place for the remainder of the 1970s.

Countries Hosting Fellowship Recipients. By contrast with the relatively large number of countries from which fellowship recipients were selected, the number of significant host-country providers was much more concentrated. More precisely, only nine (6%) of the 150 state-members of the United Nations in 1979 hosted slightly more than half of all UNDP fellowship recipients during the 1960s and 1970s. The United Kingdom and United States alone were the destination of 19 percent of all UNDP fellowship recipients (Figures 37 and 38). But that pales by comparison to the USA’s estimated thirty percent share of all world-wide destinations by students studying in countries other than their own throughout the period under review here.24

For its part, the Soviet Union hosted only three percent of total UNDP fellowship holders (about 7,400) during those two decades. That is in marked contrast to the Soviet Union and its allies’ “almost ten percent” share of all students studying at university level in countries other than their own between 1970 and 1990; a share that reflects the Soviet Union’s “active policy to attract and indoctrinate future leaders” by offering fellowships to Moscow’s “People’s Friendship University (formerly known as Patrice Lumumba University)founded in 1960 with the explicit mandate to prepare future socialist leaders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America24 and other Eastern European universities as well. 

India (5%) and Egypt (2%) were the only “non-Western” destinations among the top-ten host country providers. With the addition of eleventh-ranked Thailand, only three “non-Western” countries were among the nine dominant hosts. But even so, they together hosted only thirteen percent (about 31 thousand) of all UNDP fellowship recipients during the same period.

Persistence of Conventional Approaches: Substitutes & Performers

In 1948, General Assembly Resolution 2000(III) broadened the scope of UN-provided technical assistance to include “promotion of conditions of economic and social progress and development.” The justification for this expansion of advisory and training activities beyond the more limited scope employed during the immediate post-war period in Europe was the “lack of expert personnel and lack of technical organization” in “underdeveloped” countries.21 To fill that gap, the UN provided “operational, executive and administrative (OPEX) personnel” to serve directly as officials of recipient governments, even as they were still employed by the United Nations or specialized agencies at international, rather than local, rates.

Available data illustrate the ebb and flow of OPEX assignments during the period following the establishment of UNDP on January 1, 1966. During that first year, 101 UNDP-financed OPEX personnel worked in 35 countries or dependent territories (45% of which were in Africa). Overall numbers of OPEX “experts11 increased until reaching a peak for the period under review here of 216 personnel working in 49 countries and dependent territories during 1975 (67% of whom were serving in 25 African countries; Figure 39 and 40).

Of equal interest to those aggregate statistics, the numbers serving in a few specific African countries at the peak for that continent during 1974 stand-out – the very small country of Swaziland had a full 23 OPEX staff followed by Botswana (20), Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, and Malawi (13 each); and Nigeria (12). The only non-African countries hosting anywhere near those numbers that year were Yemen (8) and Trinidad and Tobago, and Western Samoa (7 each).

Beginning in 1976, the number of OPEX personnel began a steady decline – beginning with 190 and ending the decade with a total of 122 personnel in 39 countries or territories. Nonetheless, Swaziland maintained its lead share of the reduced number serving in Africa, followed by Botswana and Malawi (Figure 41 and 42).25

But the decline in the number of OPEX personnel did not signify the end of foreign “advisors” performing direct tasks on behalf of recipient governments rather than transferring skills to local counterparts. Other foreign “advisors,” whether financed by UNDP or other bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies, continued to perform tasks directly for recipient governments themselves.

One result of the direct performance of tasks rather than the on-the-job transfer of skills was that foreign technical cooperation personnel tended to continue in place for substantial periods – whether as individuals or by virtue of successive replacements with or without minor changes in position titles or job descriptions. Of the 81 countries or territories to which OPEX personnel were assigned for at least one year between the commencement of UNDP operations (1966) and the end of the period under review here (1979), 34 (42%) hosted them for at least seven (50%) of those 14 years.26 And that phenomenon was compounded by a “brain-drain” of many government staff sent to study in European or European derivative7 countries who did not return home.

It is a perverse irony that, although by 1972 almost a third of new UNDP staff members — as distinct from UNDP-financed experts — were from “developing” countries, almost all of them were graduates of Western universities. And many of those were found among earlier recipients of UNDP and other donor fellowships, leading some to criticize donors for contributing to a brain drain and subverting the very purpose of the fellowships in the first place.

The assignment of foreigners as “substitutes27 with direct line responsibilities within recipient countries is now rare almost anywhere other than in UN administered territories and other post-conflict situations.28 However, the dominant role of experts as “performers27 implementing tasks assigned to them directly by UNDP – or another “donor” — has not changed to any significant extent until the present time.

That is the case despite UNDP’s introduction of the “New Dimensions in Technical Co-operation” during 1975 and the UNDP’s Governing Council’s 1979 “invitation” to:

the UNDP Administrator, agencies and Governments to consider alternatives to UNDP-financed, internationally recruited experts and to consider, in particular: increased support to Governments wishing to undertake the direct recruitment of experts; increased use of qualified nationals as experts in projects; increased use of expatriate nationals for service in their home countries; and increased use of institutional twinning arrangements and related methods….”29

In short, getting the immediate job done overrode responsibilities for providing on-the job training to benefit recipient governments in the longer-term. Although this was generally considered appropriate, by the late 1970s an expanding number of development professionals began to argue that such practices were – at least over the longer-term — counter-productive.30  

In retrospect, “performer” approaches have clearly failed to meet expectations even as “donors” continue to finance such roles to this day. The discussion of the failure to provide effective in-service training by on-site residential “experts11 and alternative, non-conventional, approaches to providing such services is deferred to a future posting (look for “From Colonial Administrators to Development Advisors,” forthcoming). For now, we turn our attention to UNDP’s outreach to the financing and reorganization of UN development efforts from 1960 to 1979 (Segment B).    


March 17, 2011

Increasingly in recent times we have come first to identify the remedy that is most agreeable, most convenient, most in accord with major pecuniary or political interest, the one that reflects our available faculty for action; then we move from the remedy so available or desired back to a cause to which that remedy is relevant. John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

On Again, Off Again (Personal Reminiscences)1

It was 1982. I was in Sierra Leone as a World Bank short-term consultant. This was the Bank’s first joint agriculture sector review mission with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This assignment also represented several firsts for me as well. It was my first direct encounter with a UN System agency, my first participation in a World Bank mission, my first visit to West Africa, and my first involvement in long-term sector policy assessment and formulation.

I soon discovered that our IFAD colleagues were worried that Bank staff would ignore their desire to consult directly with smallholder farmers at the village level. But that turned out not to be the case and, as an outsider to both IFAD and the Bank, I found little difference in either style or focus between the staff of those two agencies.

Although I was not aware of it at the time, this collaboration with IFAD was evidence of a shift in World Bank attitudes toward United Nations (UN) agencies.  It also signified a growing interest in more participatory approaches, even if by only a small number of Bank staff. And unbeknownst to me, that had been the reason I had been employed by the Bank for this mission.

About eighteen months later (1984), I was hired as the World Bank’s first Institutional Development Specialist and assigned to a new Institutional Development, Technical Assistance, and Training projects division within what was then the Eastern and Southern Africa regional vice-presidency. There again I found an interesting sign of collaboration between the World Bank and the UN. That collaboration took the form of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) staff-unit embedded within our projects division. Indeed, the “training” designation in our Division’s title referred to that unit. I confess that I never really understood then nor do I know now what my UNDP colleagues actually did. All I knew was that, although their offices were integrated with ours, they attended our staff meetings, and were evaluated by our projects division chief, they actually had their own portfolio of activities, retained their status as UNDP staff, and were paid by UNDP. And about three years later the unit was dissolved, staff were reassigned either to UNDP headquarters in New York or to that agency’s field offices.

I did not have occasion to interact with any UN agency again until sometime during 1989 when I approached UNDP with a request for financing. Requests to UNDP or other UN entities for grant financing by World Bank staff were rare, but not completely unknown. In this case, I had proposed and received permission to launch a relatively low-cost effort to “develop local consulting capacity in Africa.” But that approval had come with a catch. Although I would have about twenty percent of my time released at the Bank’s expense, I would need to find grant financing for the actual activities elsewhere. So I prepared a draft scope of work and drafted a cover letter for my regional Vice-President to sign and send to several possible sources of grant financing. The only positive responses were from UNDP and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together pledging about $650 thousand. I naively thought that once the two memoranda of  understanding had been signed, the money would be released and I could proceed. But of course, that was not the case. The formal agreements still needed to be negotiated separately and appropriate paperwork prepared and  signed before any money would actually be transferred to the World Bank trust fund account established for this specific activity. And as busy as I was with my normal tasks within the Bank, it appeared that my colleagues in The Hague and New York were even busier. A brief visit to the Ministry in The Hague did the trick there. But it soon became clear to me that a truly understaffed office in New York was attaching a relatively low-priority to the processing of the necessary paperwork and, therefore, the UNDP money might never be actually available. As they explained, it was not that they didn’t want to do it, but they didn’t have the staff-time to do it.

So I invited myself to New York, asked them for an office, and examples of paperwork previously completed for other trust fund arrangements and, with their permission, typed the letters required on UNDP letterhead and personally collected the four or five required signatures so that the letters could be sent to my Managers at the Bank; all of which was completed in one full day. Only a few days later, that signed paperwork arrived in Washington, DC, the trust fund was established, and the money was transferred. I tell this story not to embarrass anyone in UNDP those many years ago, but rather to illustrate the fact that degrees of collaboration between agencies like the World Bank and UNDP are not simply a function of policy, but of the relative priorities and incentives among managers and staff of collaborating organizations.

My next encounter with a UN agency was indirect, even if a bit disconcerting. Although I am a political scientist, my advocacy and modeling of participatory approaches led to my assignment in 1995 as Manager of the “UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program” (WSP) unit for the “East Asia and Pacific Region” (WSPEAP) headquartered in Jakarta. Established in 1979 as a partnership between UNDP and the World Bank, the WSP was an early example of international consortia managed by the World Bank with regular World Bank staff but financed by grants from multiple donors; the most well-known of which is probably the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) established eight years before. However, although largely financed by UNDP during its earlier years as a program to develop and test very low-cost hand pump and latrine designs suitable for local manufacture, it had shifted by the early 1990s to the design and implementation of small-scale pilot projects meant to demonstrate the efficiency of demand-driven approaches to the design and implementation of projects for provision of safe water and effective sanitation to poor people.

By the time I came aboard in 1995, UNDP headquarters was no longer providing core financing, although individual UNDP country-programs did continue to finance some WSP pilot projects. Financing for our Program in East Asia was provided primarily by the Australian, Swedish, and Swiss bi-lateral aid agencies and from within the World Bank itself as our approach was increasingly incorporated into the design of the Bank’s larger loan or credit financed projects. My satisfaction as a regular World Bank staff with the increasing integration into mainstream World Bank operations was off-set by our apparent inability to establish effective collaboration with other UN system organizations, especially UNICEF’s separate water and sanitation program in the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic.

Although UNDP had been heavily involved in the original establishment of the WSP, UNICEF’s own discrete water and sanitation projects were designed and implemented by its own separate staff that were also resident in many of the same countries as UNDP. And despite similar demand-driven approaches to expanding water and sanitation facilities and services to the rural and urban poor, both groups viewed each other as competitors rather than collaborators. Our own Country Program Officer in Vientiane was bedeviled by what he viewed as UNICEF’s successive rejections of overtures to establish closer operational collaboration. However, although maintaining friendly diplomatic relationships with the UNICEF resident office in Vientiane was valuable, it soon became apparent to me that actual collaborative planning and/or implementation was unlikely because our respective institutional incentives pulled us in separate directions. Both groups were scrambling for money from the same bi-lateral donors and staff were not likely to be promoted on the grounds that they deferred to another organization in the interests of greater overall efficiencies. Eventually, our nominally shared UN system identities disappeared as UNDP financing of the joint program ended and the official name of the Program was ultimately changed to “The Water and Sanitation Program” (WSP) in April 2000 to better reflect the multi-donor nature of its financing. Nonetheless, although UNDP no longer finances the Program, its representative continues to serve on its Program Council.2


The conventional expectation at the end of World War II was that the new International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) would focus primarily on providing financial support to member-states while the United Nations (UN) concentrated on global collective security. Nonetheless, it was also expected that IBRD would operate within a broader policy context coordinated by the UN, as implied in Article V of its Articles of Agreement:

The Bankshall cooperate with any general international organization and with public international organizations having specialized responsibilities in related fields…. In making decisions on applications for loans or guarantees relating to matters directly within the competence of any international organizationparticipated in primarily by members of the Bank, the Bank shall give consideration to the views and recommendations of such organization.

True, that single Article is not as specific as the multiple provisions specifying the role of the Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) within the UN Charter. But there is also other evidence that IBRD was expected to operate within the broader mandate of the UN.
One example is provided by the active lobbying by several Latin American delegations in San Francisco for expanding EcoSoc’s power and responsibilities as a direct channel for post-war financial aid to non-European states,4 a position directly opposed by the Soviet Union’s view that the UN should limit itself to ensuring “collective security” and not much else.5 However, the Latin Americans prevailed as EcoSoc was explicitly tasked with consideration, coordination, and recommendation of proposed economic and social activities (Articles 61-72). But that victory was ultimately incomplete — and therein lays a tale.

The telling of that tale will be presented in a series of five separate blog posts. This first post provides a summary comparison of the UN System and World Bank Group. Part #2 (“Building Walls”) presents the story of their relations during the period from 1946 through the 1950s. Part #3 (“Mending Fences”) extends the story to the evolution of the relationship during the 1960s and 1970s. Finally, Part #4 (“Tensions Re-Emerge”) summarizes relations during the 1980s and 1990s while Part #5 (“Older and Wiser?”) focuses on the period since the year 2000.

Similarities & Differences

The overall structure of the United Nations System and World Bank Group has been described in previous posts. Both of those groups have expanded exponentially since their creation. Given that both the UN and World Bank were born from the same parents almost simultaneously, the extent of differences among organizations both within and between those two broad institutional systems is surprising:

  1. Although membership in all entities within the UN System and World Bank Group is limited to sovereign- states, all members of the United Nations General Assembly are not necessarily members of IBRD (or other World Bank subsidiary bodies or specific UN specialized agencies);
  2. Although sovereign-state members are represented by their respective governments within UN System and World Bank Group entities, different agencies within those governments represent them in those different international bodies (for example, [i] ministries of foreign affairs generally represent their governments in the General Assembly and Security Council, [II] bi-lateral development agencies, ministries of external affairs, or sector-specific line ministries normally represent them in specialized agencies, and [iii] ministries of finance or central banks normally represent them in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund [IMF]);
  3. Although informal agreements existed that the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the President of the World Bank should both be Americans,6 a wide range of other nationalities have always served in the highest leadership position of other UN specialized agencies;
  4. Although senior leaders within both systems stressed the importance of “country-knowledge” among staff, the UN system began posting Resident Representatives to client countries very early-on while the World Bank continues to rely primarily on staff and consultants dispatched from its Washington headquarters; and
  5. Although the UN system fairly rapidly expanded its interests in international development assistance and capacity to provide it, the attention of its overall leadership and Secretariat staff remains focused on, in the words of Craig Murphy, “matters of international high politics.”7

In addition to the differences summarized above, three others are even more fundamental: (1) their respective decision-making structures; (2) their sources of finance; and (3) the terms under which development assistance is provided.


It is generally well understood that the United Nations General Assembly operates on the principle of “one country, one vote” without regard to the different amount of dues paid by each individual member-state. That is also true of all other UN “principal organs” except for the Security Council where China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States each have an absolute veto. Less well understood is that decision-making structures vary among UN specialized agencies, including the World Bank Group and IMF.

It is impossible to describe that entire range of variation among UN System agencies within this blog post. But in broad terms, there are three broad decision-making arenas within the UN and World Bank Group systems. The first two are the “principle organs” of the United Nations where decisions made by individual member-states are directly represented and the various “secretariats” where the professional leadership and staff of UN subsidiary bodies and specialized agencies make operational decisions themselves.8 The third arena is found primarily within the walls of the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington, DC where, although officially part of the United Nations system, decisions are independently made by its middle and senior managers.9 With that three-fold classification in mind, the remainder of this blog post focuses primarily on the relationship between UNDP and its predecessor agencies on the one hand with IBRD and the International Development Association (IDA) on the other hand.

Financing Development Assistance

Most welfare and development-oriented UN entities provide assistance as grants. Although grants do not require repayment, some cost-sharing is almost always required of recipient governments. Nonetheless, because most UN activities are financed by grants it is most often limited to provision of technical assistance or training.

Although a few, relatively small, grants are sometimes provided by the World Bank, the overwhelming majority of its finance is provided by IBRD in the form of “loans” at or near market interest rates and zero-interest concessional “credits” provided by IDA. Differences between IDA and IBRD are limited to: (1) sources of finance; (2) eligibility for finance; and (3) fees charged borrowers and terms of repayment. The principal amount of IDA credits must eventually be paid back, but only a small fee of half of one percent is charged, there is normally a ten-year grace period before repayment begins, and full repayment is extended for twenty to thirty years beyond that. Since 1970 (the date from which adequate time-series data is available), World Bank financing has been substantially larger than that provided by the UN’s largest agencies.

According to the World Bank’s current classification scheme, member-countries are eligible to borrow from IDA only if their per capita income was less than $1,165 during 200910 and they are not sufficiently credit-worthy to borrow from IBRD. That means that only countries classified as “lower-income” plus a few at the very lowest end of the “lower middle income” range might be eligible. Member-states with per capita incomes above $1,165 but less than $12,196 are eligible for IBRD loans. “High income” member-states with incomes of above $12,195 are not eligible for any borrowing from the World Bank. A few lower middle-income “blend” countries like India and China have been allowed to maintain a mixed-status allowing access to borrowing some combination of IBRD loans and IDA credits that effectively lower the aggregate amount of interest they are charged.

Sources of Finance

Financing formulas and arrangements vary substantially among different United Nations organizations and commissions.  A very brief comparison of the way the UN General Assembly, UNDP, UN Specialized Agencies, IBRD, and IDA are financed is provided below.

UN General Assembly Authorized Core Budget & Peacekeeping. UN member-states are assessed dues for three-year periods. Dues range from a maximum “ceiling” of twenty-two percent of the total core budget to a minimum “floor” of only 1/1,000th of one percent based primarily on estimates of each member’s gross national income (GNI). Since the founding of the UN, the United States has been the only country whose dues are levied at the maximum rate; from at least fifty percent of the UN’s regular core budget in 1945 to one-third in 1955 and twenty-two percent of the UN’s 2010 core budget.11

UNDP. As a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly, the UN’s regular core budget subsidizes a small percentage of its total expenditures. The remainder is raised directly through direct negotiations with UN member-states. At the time that UNDP’s predecessor Extended Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) was established in 1949, its leadership understood that its financial survival required two things: (1) continued voluntary support by the United States, including by both Congress and the President, and (2) increasing contributions by Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, that had escaped relatively unscathed from World War II. Therefore, it is not surprising that the United States voluntarily contributed a full sixty percent of its budget in 1949 and declined only slowly to fifty percent by 1958 at the dawn of the de-colonization era. Nonetheless, by 2004, the United States contribution had declined to only about twelve percent of what had become the UNDP budget.

UN Specialized Agencies. By contrast with subsidiary organs like UNDP, specialized agencies are not normally subsidized even in part by the UN’s regular core budget. Instead, they negotiate the amount of dues with each of their own member-states directly. In addition, several agencies like UNICEF also raise funds from both public and private sources. Some agencies also contract their services directly to individual member-states; as UNESCO, UNICEF, and WHO did to the United States Government in Iraq during 2003 and 2004.12

IBRD. By contrast to all UN principal organs (other than the Security Council), subsidiary bodies, and almost all other specialized agencies, World Bank Group entities and the IMF employ a weighted voting system whereby the share of total votes held by each individual member-state is determined by their relative share of subscribed capital. Nonetheless, the actual voting power of individual member-states varies within each of the Bank Group’s five entities.

With specific respect to IBRD, the minimum number of shares assigned to each member is tied to the financial “quota” that state is required to deposit with the IMF.13 Because the voting power of original and early members of the Bank (Articles of Agreement, Article V) has declined as the number of member-states has increased, the United States’ share of total IBRD votes has been dramatically reduced from the thirty-seven percent of the total in 1944 to today’s sixteen percent (click below for Figure 1).

Figure 1 – WB Voting Shares (1947-2005)

The primary difference between the manner in which the United Nations, IMF, IDA, and IBRD are financed is that, unlike all those others, IBRD member-states are not required to pay-in the full amount of their capital subscriptions. Instead, the overwhelming bulk of IBRD’s resources come from borrowing in the private sector financial markets (Article IV), the collateral for which are the financial guarantees by its sovereign-state members that their unpaid capital subscriptions will be available if required to meet the Bank’s obligations (Article II). Although available, calls on unpaid capital subscriptions have never been necessary. Indeed, the Bank has always posted an annual profit. In 2007, that profit exceeded $1.65 billion.14 That, in turn, has enabled IBRD to provide substantial funding in its own right to IDA and various other multi-donor trust funds managed by the Bank. Because the bulk of IBRD financing is raised through the private sector bond market, the need to establish and maintain a superior credit rating among international private investors has been critical to the IBRD’s financial success. Indeed, IBRD’s “first bonds, issued  in July 1947, were substantially oversubscribed.” According to the private non-profit Bank Information Center (BIC), the IBRD had by 2008:

paid-in capital of US$11.5 billion and callable capital of US$178 billion…. [and] with capital backing of nearly US$200  billion from its member governments.., [had a] “AAA” credit rat[ing] and [is able to on-]lend those funds to  borrowers at rates slightly below those offered by commercial lenders.15

IDA. IDA was established in 1960 for reasons that will be discussed in Part #2 of this five-part series. Although it operates under the terms of  its own Articles of Agreement, it is actually a fund rather than a separate organization. Indeed, the managers and staff of IBRD and IDA are exactly the same. The procedures for identifying, appraising, supervising, and evaluating IDA credits are also the same. As a separate fund, IDA is financed primarily by contributions from its members pledged approximately every three years during “replenishment rounds;”16 the seventeenth of which begins during 2011. Those funds are also supplemented by repayment of previous IDA credits and direct contributions from IBRD profits. Although not very large to date, those repayments will increase as IDA’s very long-term repayment periods are increasingly reached over future years. As in the case of IBRD, voting within IDA is weighted according to the number of shares subscribed, but the amount of shares subscribed is entirely voluntary.17 Because all members of IBRD are not also members of IDA18 and the number of shares is voluntarily subscribed, the share of votes held by each member-state varies from those exercised within IBRD. Thus, while the United States currently holds only sixteen percent of votes within IBRD, it holds eleven percent of votes within IDA.19

Summary Conclusion

As will be illustrated in subsequent parts of this five-fold series, different sources of finance, membership, and voting formulas account for many of the different priorities and behaviors among UN and World Bank organizations rather than different moral principles. Differences in financial sources limited UN system entities largely to technical assistance and education assistance while enabling the World Bank to provide substantial capital for large-scale infrastructure development. As will be demonstrated in the following four parts of this series, those different capacities led their respective organizations in different directions. As only one example, while UNICEF was established in 1946 and WHO two years later, the World Bank did not begin to finance projects in the education and health sectors until 1962 and 1979 respectively (click below for data provided in Figure 3).

Figure 3 — UN/WB Comparisons: Macro-Organizational & Thematic (1947-2011)



[1]All “Personal Reminiscence” posts are stories told about one or more of my own personal experiences as I remember it. They are true to the best of my ability to recollect them and reflect my view of how they illustrate “lessons learned” from that experience even if one or another aspect of the story as told might not be completely correct in each and every detail. Further, I have done my best to disguise the identity of other persons referred to in these stories, including not using their true names unless references to their presence at that time or circumstance has already been published by others in other media.

[2] WSP’s current donors include Australia; Austria; Canada; Denmark; Finland; France; Ireland; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom; United States; The World Bank; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

[3] Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly and Thomas G. Weiss point out that “there is no comprehensive history of the United Nations (UN), either institutional or intellectual…. [even though] several specialized agencies have written or are in the process of writing their institutional histories.” That contrasts with the publication of two large histories of the World Bank, both of which were sponsored by the Bank to commemorate its 25th and 50th anniversaries (Edward Mason and Robert Asher, The World Bank Since Bretton Woods [Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1973] and Devesh Kapur, John Lewis, and Richard Webb, The World Bank: Its First Half Century, two volumes [Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1997]), and the employment of an in-house historian who ensures the capture of its place in history with regular publications (for example, James Boughton, Silent Revolution: The International Monetary Fund 1979–1989 (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2001). See Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly and Thomas G. Weiss, Economic and Social Thinking at the UN in Historical Perspective, Development and Change 36 (2005), p. 211–235.

[4] Latin American delegations argued forcefully that EcoSoc’s authority to “recommend” development projects and policies should be understood to have the force of a directive or veto with respect to the decisions of any UN subsidiary or specialized agency. They formulated that position following the Inter-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace at the Chapultepec “Castle” in Mexico City from February 21 to March 8, 1945 in response to the United States delegation’s statement that its priority for post-war financing – and by extension the IBRD’s priority as well — would be the reconstruction of Allied European economies rather than development of Latin American economies that had largely stagnated during the War. See the Declarations on Reciprocal Assistance and American Solidarity, known as the “Act of Chapultepec,” see United States Army Information School, “Pillars of Peace in Documents Pertaining to American Interest in Establishing A Lasting World Peace: January 1941 – February 1946 (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: Army Information School Book Department, May 1946). Also see Jean Krasno, A Step Along an Evolutionary Path: The Founding of the United Nations, Global Dialogue 2 (Spring 2000); Colombia’s Resolution on Aggression Introduced at Inter-American Conference; New York Times (February 23, 1945); Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Reminiscence of William Sanders, written responses to questions as part of Oral History Project (August, 1975); and Jerry Mark Silverman, An International Economic History of Latin America & The Caribbean in Jose de Arimateia da Cruz and Eduardo Gomez (ed.), Latin America in the New International System: Challenges and Opportunity (Boston: Pearson Custom Publishers, 2005), p. 57-96.

[5]See Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Oral History Interview with August Maffry, interview conducted by Richard D. McKinzie as part of Oral History Project (January 19, 1973).

[6] The informal agreement with respect to the World Bank Group is still apparently in effect, although increasing noises are made to end it. The informal agreement with respect to UNDP ended with the appointment of Mark Malloch Brown, a citizen of the United Kingdom and at the time the World Bank’s Vice-President for both External Affairs and United Nations Affairs, as UNDP’s 6th Administrator on April 23, 1999. He was the first UNDP Administrator who was not a United States citizen to serve in his own right since the establishment of UNDP in 1966. He was succeeded by Kemal Dervis, a citizen of Turkey and also former World Bank Vice-President, in  August 2005 and by Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand on April 17, 2009.

[7] Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas Weiss assert that “…UN secretaries-general basically confirm that political and security crises tend to fill all the available time, and that economic and social issues assume a lower priority.” They quote Javier Perez de Cuellar, UN Secretary-General from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991, to bolster that statement: “Coming from the Third World, I was especially unhappy during my ten years as Secretary-General with the failure of the United Nations to work as a system more effectively for economic and social development . . . It can be persuasively argued that, over the years, there has been inadequate leadership on the part of the Secretary-General and the UN Secretariat in placing the United Nations in the forefront of economic thinking . . . Moreover, the political and administrative demands on the Secretary-General have always come first. See Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas Weiss, Economic and Social Thinking at the UN in Historical Perspective, Development and Change 36 (2005), p. 211–235. Javier Perez de Cuellar’s quote is from his Pilgrimage for Peace (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1990) while Craig Murphy’s quote is from The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006). A history “commissioned by UNDP” that is nonetheless “an independent publication” in which the “views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Development Programme.

[8] The identification and formulation of two of these four “arenas” is borrowed from Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly and Thomas G. Weiss who differentiate within the UN system between the “arena where states make decisions” and “the leadership and staff of international secretariats.” See Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly and Thomas G. Weiss, Economic and Social Thinking at the UN in Historical Perspective, Development
and Change
36 (2005), p. 211–235 and Thomas Weiss, David Forsythe, and Roger Coate, The United Nations and Changing World Politics 4th edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2004).

[9] For reasons discussed in a forthcoming blog post (“From United States to World Bank Dominance”), the World Bank’s executive directors do not significantly affect World Bank Group decisions.

[10] The IDA-eligible per capita income ceiling is recalculated by the World Bank on July 1st of each year using its Atlas method.

[11] For illustrative purposes, the top ten member-state assessments for the UN regular core budget for 2005-2007 (the most recent year for which I could find data) were: United States (22.0%); Japan (19.5%); Germany (8.7%); United Kingdom (6.1%); France (6.0%); Italy (4.9%); Canada (2.8%); Spain (2.5%); China (2.1%); and Mexico (1.9%); United Nations, Questions and Answers about the United Nations (June 30, 2006). See also the United Nations Association of the United States of America, U.S. Dues and Contributions.

[12] I have personal knowledge of UNESCO’s, UNICEF’s, and WHO’s participation in that part of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s program administered by USAID in Iraq for only the years 2003 and 2004. I do not know how long they individually or collectively continued that involved beyond April 2004.

[13] According to IBRD’s Articles of Agreement (Article IV), “each member shall have two hundred fifty votes plus one additional vote for each share of stock held.” See also World Bank, Voting Powers, Board of Directors.

[14]Bank Information Center (BIC), World Bank (IBRD & IDA).


[16] Article III of IDA’s Articles of Agreement suggests that replenishments will occur “approximately five years” apart, but in fact several member-states have refused to make commitments beyond three years at a time.

[17] According to IDA’s Articles of Agreement (Article VI), “each original member shall, in respect of its initial subscription, have five hundred votes plus one additional vote for each $5,000 of its initial subscription.”

[18] As of June 25, 2010, IDA’s total membership consisted of 170 sovereign-states equivalent to 91% of IBRD’s total membership of 187. The 17 IBRD members that have not joined IDA to date are: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahrain; Belarus; Brunei; Bulgaria; Jamaica; Lithuania; Malta; Namibia; Qatar; Romania; San Marino; Seychelles; Suriname; Turkmenistan; Uruguay; and Venezuela.

[19] See International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Management’s Discussion and Analysis, The World Bank Annual Report 2010 (June 30, 2010).

Keywords: agriculture, Argentina, Asia, August Maffry, Australia, Austria, Bank Information Center, BIC, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Blend countries, Canada, capacity-building, CGIAR, Chapultepec Conference, China, Coalition Provisional Authority, collective security, Community-based social development projects, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, consulting capacity in Africa, Craig Murphy, credits, David Forsythe, Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, Decade for Disabled Persons, Decade for Eradication of Poverty, Decade for Industrial Development in Africa, Decade for Sustainable Development, Decade for Women, Decade for World’s Indigenous People, Decade to roll back malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, Denmark, Department for International Development, development banks, development corporations, DFID, East Germany, Eastern Europe, Economic and Social Council, EcoSoc, education, Egypt, EPTA, FAO, Finland, First Development Decade, Food and Agriculture Organization, Fourth Development Decade, France, General Assembly, Germany, health, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Helen Clark, Human Development Reports, IARD, IBRD, IBRD Articles of Agreement, ICSID, IDA, IDA Articles of Agreement, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, industry, Inter-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace, integrated rural development projects, integrated urban development projects, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, international civil servants, International Development Association, International Finance Corporation, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Water and Sanitation Decade, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Jean Krasno, Kermal Dervis, Lao PDR, Latin America, Literacy Decade: Education for All, loans, Louis Emmerij, Luxembourg, Mark Malloch Brown, MDGs, Middle East, Millennium Development Goals, MIGA, Monroe Doctrine, Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Association, National Institute of Planning, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, North Africa, North America, Norway, peace-keeping, policy-based lending, ports, programs, projects, PSM, public administration, public sector management, public utilities, railways, Richard Jolly, roads, Roger Coate, Russia, Sadat Academy of Management, SAMS, San Francisco Conference, Scandinavia, Second Decade for Eradication of Poverty, Second Decade for Industrial Development in Africa, Second Decade for Transport and Communications in Africa, Second Decade for World’s Indigenous People, Second Development Decade, Second World War, Security Council, Sierra Leone, South Asia, Southern Europe, Soviet Union, Spain, Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development, structural adjustment, Sub-Saharan Africa, SUNFED, Sweden, Switzerland, Third Development Decade, Thomas Weiss, training, transport, UK, UN, UN Charter, UN System, UNDP, UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNRWA, UNSF, United Kingdom, United Nations, United Nations Childrens’ Fund, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization, United Nations Expanded Program for Technical Assistance, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Population Fund, United Nations principal organs, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, United Nations Resident Representatives, United Nations Secretariats, United Nations Special Fund, United Nations specialized agencies, United Nations subsidiary bodies, United Nations System, United States, United States Agency for International Development, United States Congress, United States President, USAID, Vientiane, Water and Sanitation Program, Water for Life Decade, West Africa, Western Europe, WFP, WHO, William Sanders, World Bank, World Bank Group, World Bank Resident Representatives, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, World War II, WSP, Yalta Conference.


February 8, 2011

This land is your land and this land is my land – sure – but the world is run by those who don’t listen to music anyway.                                  Bob Dylan (born 1941)

As implied in Part #1 of this topic (posted January 23, 2011), current events in Egypt are partially the fruit of political and military decisions made by the United States and its allies during the Cold War. That motivation was subsequently replaced by the new “terrorist” threat following the American Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam on August 7, 1998. Nonetheless, the desire to build anti-communist coalitions during the Cold War also dovetailed nicely with the perceived theoretical requirements for economic development current at that time.

Economists’ Rule

During the two decades of the 1960s and 1970s that bound the period under review in this blog post, thinking about the most effective road to “modernity” reflected the two mutually reinforcing economic theories of “linear growth1 and “dual economies.”2 Although there are different versions of those theories,3 most presented both good and bad news for “underdeveloped” countries. The bad news was that economic development must follow the same path experienced by western industrialized countries;4 a path that meandered through European history over a period of more than 200 years.5 The good news was that a correct understanding of that long history provided the opportunity to substantially accelerate the trip along that path.

Despite the Cold War competition between the “Communist” and “Free” worlds, both Marxist and non-Marxist theories shared the view that the rapid growth of European economies during the eighteenth century was the result of an “industrial revolution.” Indeed, the basic premise of those theories is generally credited to both David Ricardo (1772-1823) and Karl Marx (1818-1883). That shared premise was that economic growth depended on a shift from supposedly “traditionally static” agricultural economies to more dynamic and highly organized forms of industrial production. And that transition began when improved agricultural and animal husbandry techniques were incrementally introduced into increasingly integrated agricultural economies over many decades. Those innovations eventually led to investment in export-oriented cash crops, increased agricultural profits, and ultimately reinvestment of those profits in an exponentially expanding industrial sector. Eventually, an expanding industrial sector displaced agriculture as the primary employer within European and North American economies.

Nonetheless, there were also differences between Marxist and non-Marxist approaches. First, Marxist theory posited a linear progression from feudalism through capitalism and socialism to communism while non-Marxist economic development theory posited a linear progression from subsistence agriculture to surplus agricultural production to industrialization. Indeed, equating “modernity” with industrialization and consequent urbanization is taken for granted by many people today. 

Second, the projected beneficiaries of Marxist theory would be industrial workers (the “proletariat”) worldwide without respect to state borders or national identities while for the non-Marxist theoretical descendents of Ricardo the beneficiaries would be “underdeveloped” sovereign-states. Third, the ideal Marxist society was a universal classless society without differentiated state borders to be achieved sometime in the indefinite future while for non-Marxists the ideal state was simply a replication in “underdeveloped” countries of the socio-political economy already achieved by “modern industrialized” sovereign-states within a single generation. 

“The People:” Means or Ends?

Unfortunately, both Marxist and non-Marxist theories were transformed into an ideologically-rooted policy prescription for the rapid “development” of non-European people. And the stereotypically undifferentiated view held by many foreign and indigenous elites was that most of them were illiterate “peasants,” bound by counter-productive traditional beliefs and traditions, and living in parochial and inward looking rural villages. Ordinary people were perceived as simply too ignorant or selfish to voluntarily behave in the sacrificial ways posited by either of the two economic development theories dominant at the time. It is not surprising that both theorists and policy-makers identified the “people” as the primary obstacle to development – another demonstration of the notion that the “people are the problem” (see post dated January 3, 2011 and this blog’s Mission statement). And that view led inexorably to viewing “the people” merely as factors of production and consumption. 

Authoritarian Imperative?

It was only a short logical leap from the notion that the “people” were an obstacle to achievement of their own “best interests” to the view that they would need to be forced to behave “correctly” to achieve a greater economic good in future.6 Thus, within only a few years after gaining independence, the overwhelming majority of underdeveloped countries were officially governed by single political parties or military regimes; many of whose organizational structures mirrored those of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party even as they were not necessarily Marxist in the ideological sense.7   

Another important difference between the authoritarian regimes of Stalin’s Soviet Union and those emerging within newly independent underdeveloped countries was that the former implemented forced industrialization by using that country’s own domestic resources8 while the rulers of most newly independent underdeveloped countries viewed foreign finance as crucial.9 But attendant with foreign finance was the view that neither the first generation of political leaders or the extremely limited number of educated persons available to staff their governments had the requisite understanding of the development process or skills required to implement it. Therefore, if the pre-requisites for the success of the Marshall Plan did not already exist in newly independent African and Asian countries, then they would need to be created from scratch. And that would, in turn, require reliance on scientifically-trained “experts” who had proved their worth during the process of reconstructing Europe after World War II10 (see my next blog post, “From Colonial Administration to Technical Assistance,” forthcoming). And reliance on the limited pool of foreign-experts resulted almost inexorably in a centralized approach to planning development projects and programs; characterized in many case by the initiation of five-year planning cycles.11 In that way, a belief in efficiencies of central planning was not the exclusive mantra of “evil communists” or “misguided socialists.”12 And although the rationale for authoritarianism was clearly circular, it nonetheless influenced many international decision-makers and “free world” aid agencies continued to be strong advocates of central planning well into the 1970s.

Expansive Role of the State

Planning is to Implementation as Alchemy is to Wealth.

                              Jerry Silverman (born 1942) and George Honadle (born 1944)

Clearly, comprehensive planning, however “scientific” it might be, was not enough. It was also necessary to “control” implementation of plans while also ensuring political stability. Thus, to ensure that projected profits were re-invested in the industrial sector, many governments resorted to direct ownership of all domestic “strategic” industries and establishment of state-owned monopoly “marketing boards” tasked with squeezing largely non-existent agricultural surpluses from farmers while capturing profits from higher agricultural export prices. But to ensure political stability, many governments also: (1) established controls on consumer prices in an attempt to avoid inflation; (2) provided food to urban populations at artificially low prices essentially subsidized by the equally low prices paid to farmers by “marketing boards;” (3) promised to provide an expansive array of social services that, in the event, they failed to produce; (4) tried to control rural to urban migration by requiring permits to reside in cities (resulting in “illegal” slums without public services); (5) ultimately looked to the military and/or police to protect them against their still potentially volatile population; and, particularly in Africa, (6) employed large numbers of unskilled people without qualifications in largely non-productive jobs through “social employment” programs.


The rationale for relying on authoritarian regimes and their expert advisors required at least two things: (1) correct theoretical assumptions and (2) policies likely to achieve the objectives posited by those assumptions. Neither of those conditions were met, as illustrated by declining agricultural incomes and the vicious cycle of borrowing and ever increasing debt.

Declining Agricultural Income

The decision by farmers not to produce above subsistence requirements or to favor consumption over reinvestment were clearly rational responses to both: (1) the counter-productive domestic policies adopted by their own interventionist governments and (2) the practice by many European and North American industrialized countries to subsidize their own farmers and dump resulting agricultural surpluses (often in the form of food “aid”). As rural land became less valuable for agricultural purposes, people began to migrate in droves from rural villages to rapidly expanding urban slums drawn by the possibility of securing higher income urban jobs rather than the actual availability of such jobs; creating increasing levels of unemployment.13


Reliance on an expansive role by artificial states in equally artificial economies did not achieve either political stabilization or economic development objectives. External financing did provide the opportunity to invest in both agricultural and industrial sectors at the same time rather than sequentially. However, non-mechanized small-scale agriculture continued to employ a majority of the population throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa and much of Asia well into the 1980s.14 New industries failed to produce predicted rates of economic return and were unable to employ the burgeoning urban population.  Nonetheless, countries on whose behalf governments had borrowed money for economic development were required to repay the loans and credits they had received. 15

That, in turn, led to a vicious cycle of more borrowing to both repay past loans and further increase investment in the hope that sufficient profits would eventually be produced. That problem was compounded by the knowledge among many government officials that repayment of monies borrowed in the immediate-term would not need to be paid back until a future time well beyond their own tenure. Repetitive cycles of disappointing economic growth combined with recurrent borrowing finally culminated in the partially successful movement to “forgive debt” (HIPC) to the most heavily indebted countries beginning in 1996.

Formal Democracy or Participatory Involvement

It is clear in retrospect that “winners” and “losers” would inevitably result from decisions about who would and who would not receive development assistance and, therefore, that such decisions were inherently political. And although it is not always clear who those winners and losers would be, experience suggests that smallholder farmers, tenants, agricultural laborers, and residents of urban slums were among the biggest losers.

I will argue in a future blog post (“A World Without Poverty”) that local community-based “participatory” approaches to poverty reduction16 are more effective than either expert-driven development or attempts to aggregate diverse demands within centralized formal structures of electoral democracy. An incipient movement toward grassroots participatory approaches began to take hold within DFID, USAID, and the World Bank during the late 1980s and early 1990s.17 Nonetheless, those initiatives have remained at the margins of development assistance while the primary ethos of the World Bank and most other “donors” continues to be expert-driven. That ethos is perhaps best illustrated by remarks by Lawrence Summers at the World Bank’s Country Director’s Retreat on May 2, 2001.18

The suggestion that there would be a generalized improvement in decision making processes by giving more weight to local community is a proposition for which there is very little evidence…. there is little to be found in [the] success of [Asian countries] that points to the wisdom of much of what is said today in the name of empowerment or in the name of enfranchising those who have not been enfranchised…. I am concerned that the move toward empowerment rather than an economic approach is standing in some ways for a reduced emphasis on the analytic element in the Bank’s work…. [Thus,] I am deeply troubled by the distance that the Bank has gone in democratic countries toward engagement with groups other than governments in designing projects.

Summers was arguing primarily against the World Bank’s attempts to empower non-government stakeholders within countries with ostensibly “democratically” elected governments because he believed that “there is a real possibility…of significantly weakening [those] governments.” Nonetheless, he also clearly implied opposition to World Bank support of demand-driven participatory approaches in countries with authoritarian regimes as well. Thus, Summers continued — 

It has to be recognized that in many cases governments are not allied with many of the forces professing to represent civil society within countries…. I think the issue is a much more difficult one where the quality of democracy is questioned, where governments less legitimately speak for their people. But here, too, there is a basic tension between the notion of being closer to governments and having better partnerships and more effective engagement with civil society…. But I rather think that on those occasions when the Bank is encouraging and pushing greater involvement with civil society — which I suspect is on a large number of occasions — the issues are perhaps a bit more complex than has been faced…. [But] I think it would be a great tragedy in terms of the Bank’s potential contribution to reducing global poverty if, in the name of demonstrating its compassion and moral energy, it were to lose sight of the rigorous analytic basis and emphasis on supporting genuine market forces that have allowed the Bank to make such a great contribution to the global poverty reduction efforts over these last 50 years.19

It would be difficult to find any better illustration of the intellectual triumph of scientific theory and expertise over the socio-political rights of ordinary people.

Summary Conclusion

Scientists have odious manners, except when you prop up their theory; then you can borrow money of them.                                                          Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Authoritarianism, not democracy, was the historical norm well before the beginning of the Cold War (Part #1) or the introduction of international development assistance. Therefore, the argument presented here is not that either of those phenomena caused authoritarian regimes. Nonetheless, foreign policy and economic theory did combine to justify support of authoritarian regimes in many developing countries. And that no doubt contributed to the sub-optimal performance of “development aid” since the 1960s.

The Spotlight currently shining on Egypt presents an opportunity to shift from an expert-led to a demand-driven approach to development. But as protesters continue to occupy Tahrir Square in Cairo, are we listening to what they are actually saying and do we have any better idea about how to effectively meet their demands than authoritarian rulers like Hosni Mubarak? Is it likely that local community or occupationally-based institutions capable of aggregating public preferences about priorities and influencing decision-makers will be established following Mubarak’s departure from the Presidency? An affirmative answer to those questions is unlikely precisely because that would require a fundamental change away from the stereotypical view of people in developing countries as lacking the capacity to make the “correct” choices. That stereotypical view was not true in the past and it is clearly not true today.

When I served as a technical assistance advisor in Egypt during 1975, 1976, and again in 1981, I worked with many Egyptians whose graduate education and professional experience mirrored my own. But looking back, that itself was a fundamental problem because indigenous “experts” continue to design and implement top-down supply-driven development assistance programs in much the same way that foreigners urged their governments to do in the past.

We do not, of course, know what the outcomes might have been if “the people” had had the opportunity to make their preferences known and if from the beginning a demand-driven approach had been supported instead of the commitment to ideologically determined policies that actually occurred. But it is hard to believe that it would have been any worse than the actual outcomes achieved after the investment of trillions of dollars in so-called “development.” Thus, achieving political reforms without commensurate changes in the way we do development or, more specifically, poverty reduction will, I predict, find the Egyptian poor in much the same place twenty years from now as they find themselves today. And that will be the case no matter how well-intentioned a democratically elected successor to Mubarak might be.



  [1]    During the 1960s, perhaps the most generally known linear growth theorist was Walt Rostow (see The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960]). The strong influence of the Cold War in this context is suggested by the sub-title.

  [2]   The initial version of dual economy theories emerged during the eighteenth century to explain the causes of a series of economic crises in France. However, that initial theory was substantially changed by the classical dualism of David Ricardo and Karl Marx. It is important to note that “dual economy” theories are not the same as “parallel economy” theories. Indeed, as we will illustrate below, while “dual economy” theories of the 1950s through the early 1970s provided a foundation for centrally planned “controlled” economies, “parallel economy” theories provide an analytical foundation for the dismantling of “controlled” economies in favor of open markets.

  [3]    Although a substantial variety of modern dual economy models are presented in the academic literature, most are categorized as being either “classical” or “neo-classical.”

  [4]    For the history of the transition from reliance on agricultural to industrial production in Europe, see Paul Bairoch, Economics and World History (London: Harvester-Wheatsheaf, 1993); Walt Rostow, How It All Began: Origins of the Modern Economy (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975); and Heinz Arndt, Economic Development: The History of an Idea (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

  [5]    In Great Britain around 1810, agricultural employment exceeded industrial employment by about 70% but that ratio was reversed as industrial sector employment rose to more than 60% by 1840; see Paul Bairoch cited in endnote 4.

  [6]   The need to “force people to be free” is a theme woven through “western” political philosophy since Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s discussion of the “Social Contract;” even though his own interpretation of that phrase is often misunderstood (see On the Social Contract first published in 1762). A common, and simplistic, interpretation of that notion is that independent “states” once legitimately established in history have the “sovereign” right to force their citizens to behave in ways the government of such states believe are required for the greater collective good. Although the focus is on the greater good in Rousseau, the practical application of that principle is that the ‘greater good” is almost always defined by governments to conform to their own particular interests.

  [7]   An important contribution of Vladimir Lenin to Marxist theory was the assertion of the need for a vanguard party of the proletariat prior to the Bolsheviks successful 1917 coup in Russia. The focus of that approach, articulated in his 1902 pamphlet What is to be Done? was further refined by Joseph Stalin’s subsequent focus on enforced introduction of accelerated industrialization within the Soviet Union. See Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement, published in 1902 and republished in English by International Publishers (New York, 1929) and in Lenin’s Collected Works (Moscow, Russia: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961) as well as on-line by Paul Halsall, Fordham University during August 1997 at

  [8]   During the 1920s, Russian economists were also engaged in an important discussion over the best way to progress from a predominantly agrarian society to a modern industrialized economy; a debate very similar to modern classical dual economy theory. See, for example, Evgenii Preobrazhenskii, The New Economics (1924), English language reprinted edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965).

  [9]   Very few states have voluntarily attempt to pursue explicitly “autarkic” policies of complete economic self-sufficiency; the most notable are the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) and Myanmar (Burma).

[10]    For a seminal formulation of “scientific public administration,” Max Weber, Economy and Society, edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Berkeley: University of Califonia Press, 1978).  See also, Max Weber’s Construction of Social Theory (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990); Gunnar Myrdal, Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into the Poverty of Nations, 3 Volumes (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1968).

[11]   At least three precedents presented themselves as central planning prototypes prior to the period of accelerated decolonization beginning in the late 1950s: (1)  the Soviet’s preparation of multi-year plans and state ownership of both agricultural production and industrial enterprises; (2) the subsequent requirement for comprehensive multi-year plans imposed by the United States on European recipients of post-World War II Marshall Plan aid and the provision of American “experts” to assist recipients to prepare those plans; and (3) the early adoption by the World Bank of requirements for comprehensive planning and provision of technical assistance similar to those of the Marshall Plan, including a Ten-Year Development Plan for the Belgian Congo during 1951, India’s first five-year development plan in 1956, and comprehensive “economic survey missions” to eighteen different countries or colonial territories by 1959.

[12]   That outlook was also reinforced by the election of majority democratic socialist governments or coalition governments in least six Western European states by the beginning of the 1960s de-colonization era that were also committed to the principles of an expansive role for Government in centrally planned economies.

[13]    More recent theories of economic development have assumed some level of unemployment will exist within the formal urban sector even in a relatively efficient economy. As an early example, see Michael Todaro, A Model of Labor Migration and Urban Unemployment in Less Developed Countries, American Economic Review 59 (1969), p. 138 – 148.

[14]   Of the 142 countries currently on the OECD’s DAC List of ODA Recipients, sufficient same-source agricultural employment data is available for only 89 (62.7%). Of those 89 countries, a full 69 percent (61) still employed more than 50% of their active labor force in agriculture as late as the period under discussion here (1980); including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region (67.1%) and South Asia and East and Southeast Asian sub-regions (82.5% and 56.3% respectively). See the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, DAC List of ODA Recipients used for 2008, 2009 and 2010 available at as revised in DAC List of ODA Recipients: Effective for Reporting on 2009 and 2010 flows available at All of the statistics presented here were calculated by Jerry Mark Silverman from data provided by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), FAOSTAT data available at and International Labour Organization (ILO), LABORSTA Internet available at NOTE: China is the most significant country on the DAC List for which insufficient same-source data is available. 

[15]   Distinctions are normally made between “grants,” “credits” and “loans.” A “grant” is finance that does not require repayment of any kind and is usually provided as bilateral aid by one country to another. A “credit,” often referred to as “concessional finance,” requires repayment of the original principal amount in the constant value of currencies determined by the lender but at a lower rate of interest than normal market rates – or without any interest at all. In the case of credits, repayment normally does not begin until an extended grace period has elapsed.  Development “loans” are extended to lower and upper middle income countries at or very near international market rates with both principal and interest repaid over an extended period of time.

[16]    The definition of “Participation” adopted here conforms to the World Bank’s Participation Sourcebook: “a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them;” see The World Bank Participation Sourcebook (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 1996) available at

[17]    It was during that time that a “participation working group” was established within the World Bank that eventually produced the “Participation Sourcebook” referenced above as well as the multi-million dollar “Voices of the Poor” trilogy: Deepa Narayan et al, Can Anyone Hear Us? (New York: published for The World Bank by Oxford University Press, 2000, available at; Crying Out for Change (New York: published for The World Bank by Oxford University Press, 2000, available at; and  Voices of the Poor: From Many Lands (New York: published for The World Bank by Oxford University Press, 2000, available at

[18]   Lawrence Summers has had long-term influence on the way development assistance programs are formulated and assessed by virtue of his service as the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President for Development Economics (1991-1993) and, within the United States’ Treasury, Undersecretary for International Affairs (1993-1995) and Deputy Secretary (1995-1999) prior to his ultimate appointment as Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2000 and, most recently, President Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor from January 2009 to January 2011.

 [19]    Cited in Stephen Fidler, Who’s Minding the Bank?, Foreign Policy 126 (September-October 2001), p. 40-50.

Keywords: authoritarian regimes, central planning, Cold War, DAC, decolonization, Department for International Development, dependent territories, development, development assistance, Development Assistance Committee, DFID, Egypt, Food for Peace, IBRD, IDA, IMF, India, Indonesia, industrialization, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, international development, International Development Association, International Monetary Fund, international organizations, international relations, Marshall Plan, modernizing elites, ODA, OECD, official development assistance, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, China, poor people, sovereign-states, Soviet Union, states, United States Agency for International Development, USAID, USSR, World Bank.

%d bloggers like this: