The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


A Critical Analysis of the World Bank's Poverty-Focused Strategy & the Shift in Emphasis After 1982

2 October 1984

Author: Marilyn Morris

Publication Date: 1986

This paper argues that the World Bank's (WB) 1 development assistance policies and poverty focused strategies after 1972 have been influenced by and remain vulnerable to changing perspectives in international development thinking. Further, that the change in emphasis after 1982 reflects a reduction in the concern for the poor that typified the 1972-1981 strategies.

Through analytical discussion it will be shown that the difficulties encountered in the poverty alleviation strategy are due to the inadequate theoretical basis for the Bank's elaboration of such strategies.

The main emphasis will be at the urban level with the general discussion relating to the requisite policy, citing projects and practices to reinforce points made.

The WB elaborated its poverty focused strategies in 1972 in an effort to assist developing countries to raise the standard of living of the ever increasing numbers living in poverty. This was in recognition of the unprecedented problems posed by rapid urbanization and population growth and the inability of developing countries to deal with these factors because of limited resource bases, inadequate and inefficient public institutions and the general absence of technical expertise.

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