We are here in Bali, Indonesia for the World Bank 2018 Annual Meeting. It is going to be an interesting meeting as I can already see. I usually don’t like to attend these meetings because I can safely predict the outcomes. And that is, it will be all talk and nothing will happen.
The first time I attended one of these meetings was the Working Party Meeting (preparing for Busan 2011) in October or November 2010 held in Tunis. This was before the Arab Spring. Before that meeting, I used to be extremely excited about development partners, especially the multilaterals, and their involvement in the development activities. After leaving Tunis in 2010, I became extremely frustrated and perplexed. I sat in meetings in which the “experts” discussed development issues as if they were new and novel. It was not until one of the participants confessed that those same issues were discussed in the 1970’s by some of the very same actors that were sitting around the table. I wondered: oh my gosh! What is this? Why are they doing this?
Well, because of the job I was doing at that time, I was forced to attend the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-Operation in 2011. This was another agonizing experience for me as I knew that no one was sincere about anything that was being discussed and that the gathering was just another fanfare for “development elites” to meet and pretend like they care about poor countries.
As I predicted, we are still where I thought we would be. And I can say, with the outmost certainty that the World Bank Annual Meeting here in Bali, Indonesia will produce nothing. Absolutely nothing!