The New Internationalist has long been a critic of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and rightly so. A wide range of IMF and World Bank activities in the past have had dubious benefits, and in some cases have worsened rather than improved the situation for the world’s most vulnerable people. Governance has been a particular concern, with Boards of the institutions dominated by directors from rich nations.
But change has been afoot at the Bank for some time, and a more open approach has slowly emerged, particularly with regard to the data sets that the World Bank has collected since its formation in 1944. It’s a tremendously important development, because the data that is selected – and the way in which it is presented – can promote vastly different approaches to development.