The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has launched a report warning that World Bank policies could hamper social development in low income countries.
The report highlights inflexibile World Bank procurement procedures and says the bank's focus on economy and efficiency could perpetuate a culture of awarding contracts on a lowest price basis the expense of social objectives. It also highjlights a lack of public consultation about projects, inadequate consideration of social objectives and corruption in all stages of the procurement cycle. The report says World Bank projects are often promoted without reference to long-term national sector plans. It says project identification is unduly influenced by politics. Entitled 'Modifying infrastructure procurement to enhance social development', the report also draws attention to weaknesses in multilateral development banks policies. These including an overemphasis on the quantity of funds disbursed, rather then the quality of investment outcomes.The report presents the findings of research by ICE Presidential Commission Engineering without Frontiers, in conjunction with Engineers against Poverty (EAP). Conclusions are based on reviews of procurement, documentation and practice in India, Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria, roundtable discussions and in depth interviews with more than 40 stakeholders, including clients, development banks and agencies, consultants and contractors.The research findings will be utilised to produce a user friendly, best practice draft toolkit, which will aim to capture social development opportunities. It will be made available free to all live infrastructure projects.