Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Robert L. Ayers. Banking on the Poor. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. 1983. 255pp.Appendices; notes; index.

This book is about “Robert McNamara’s efforts to reorient the World Bank towards a more explicit concern with poverty alleviation in the world’s poor countries.” The World Bank is one of the most important (and probably the biggest) financial institutions which have been providing both technical and financial assistance to many developing countries for more than thirty years. The traditional role of the Bank has been that of helping the developing countries in their process of development by providing loans for projects with maximum growth effects. For quite a number of years in the post-war period these loans were granted mainly for infrastructure projects which were considered a prerequisite for development. An evaluation of such projects was relatively easy as their effects on the rest of the economy were easily quantifiable. Loans for social-overhead projects received relatively low priority as their output was not directly measurable and the element of risk was also high in such loans.

Aftab Ahmad Cheema

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