The role of the World Bank in shaping third world population policy.
The primary role of the World Bank is to assist Third World governments in the economic and social development process. Given the World Bank's view that reductions in fertility and mortality will lead to improvements in productivity, GNP growth, and maternal-child health, its population activities are focused on encouraging governments to adopt fertility decline as a national development objective and on providing loans for implementing population programs. The Bank's sector work, including country economic reports and population sector analyses, has been most ambitious in countries where there was no population policy or program, especially sub-Saharan African countries. Even in pronatalist countries, this sector work has been instrumental in leading to an open discussion of population issues. In other countries, such as Indonesia, the Bank's population sector work has been instrumental in helping governments to develop and implement a population program. Through the World Bank's access to the highest levels of government and its links to a wide range of ministries, it is in a position to influence governments by providing information about the seriousness of the population problem. In Africa, this type of dialogue has been facilitated through a series of regional senior policy and management-level seminars. The Bank is further able to shape policy development through its involvement in project identification and implementation. In recent years, Bank-funded projects have placed greater emphasis on management, institution building, demand-generation activities, and involvement of the private sector in service delivery. In the area of research, the Bank's current priority is the internal efficiency of alternative policy and program strategies. Evaluations have identified the policy dealogue that links population issues with other aspects of development as the World Bank's most effective role.