Fonds - Records of the Africa Regional Vice Presidency

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Africa Regional Vice Presidency


  • 1946-2010 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

21,200 linear feet of textual records (approximate); small amount of photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The operations function of the World Bank has, in one form or another, been organized by geographic region throughout the Bank's history. While the units responsible for World Bank lending and technical assistance have changed frequently in name and status since the Bank began operations in 1946, the Africa Region (AFR) has remained relatively constant. One exception is the permanent transfer of responsibility for Northern African countries (specifically, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria) from AFR to the Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) in 1968. Thus, from 1968 to the present the Bank's Africa Region consists exclusively of sub-Saharan African countries. Another exception was the separation of AFR into Eastern and Western African regions between 1968 and 1987.

1946 - 1952

Of the twenty-eight original International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, also known as the World Bank) Articles of Agreement signatories, only three were African: South Africa, Ethiopia, and Egypt. While the Bank engaged with and, in a few instances, offered loans to non-member African countries over the next two decades, no other African countries joined the World Bank again until 1957 when the removal of colonial powers from the continent had begun.

Upon the Bank's opening in 1946, operational lending was executed out of the Loan Department (LOD). The LOD was responsible for developing loan operation policy, receiving and investigating loan inquiries, presenting loan inquiries to Bank management forconsideration, and negotiating loans. The organizational structure of LOD fluctuated over its seven year history but was, for the majority of the time, organized geographically. The Bank's focus in these early years was on post-World War II reconstruction - particularly in Europe - and this is reflected by the initial divisional organization of the LOD. Of the seven original divisions, four dealt with Europe and two with the Western Hemisphere. One division was responsible for the two continents of Asia and Africa: the Asiatic-African Division.

In 1948, the seven divisions were briefly consolidated into two (the European and United Kingdom Division and the Latin American, Asiatic and African Division). Then, in November of 1948, divisions were abolished altogether, as loans were assigned to loan officers on an ad hoc basis. In 1950, LOD was again divided into three geographical areas: Latin America Division; Asia and the Middle East Division; and European Division. Noticeably, the African region was not represented at this time.

Parallel to the LOD was the Economic Department (ECD) which conducted sector analysis and research work. Between 1946 and 1952, the ECD was responsible for both functional and geographic analyses, i.e. general economic studies and country specific studies. ECD supported the LOD and its loan administration and advised member countries on their economic and sector development plans. The ECD also liaised with international organizations on economic research. It alsoprovided staff forBank staff missions from the Bank's DC headquarters to countries to conduct both economic and project-focused research. Like the LOD, the organization of the ECD reflected the Bank's focus on post-war Europe. The Department initially consisted of three area divisions (with Africa located in its "Development Areas Division" alongside Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia) and an Economic Technology Division responsible for specialized sector studies. In August 1948 a new organizational structure featuring two area divisions was installed. Area Division I was responsible for Europe and Area Division II was divided into four sections of which Africa and the Middle East was one. In March 1950 another reorganization divided the Department into an advisory staff and an area staff, the latter consisting of three divisions of which Europe and Africa was one.

While much of the Bank's initial attention was focused on post-war countries in Western Europe and the developing nations of South America, the Bank investigated possibilities for investment in Africa immediately upon beginning operations. The first mission to African countries occurred in March of 1950 when Vice President Robert Garner visited South Africa and Southern and Northern Rhodesia. That same month, the Bank sent a mission to Ethiopia to evaluate an application for funding. This six-week mission resulted in the first funding for an African country. Ethiopia received loans for two projects: Loan 0031 Highway Project (01) included $5 million for rehabilitation and maintenance of road system and Loan 0032 Development Bank Project included $2 million for a new development bank. World Bank loans for South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Rhodesia followed in 1951 and 1952.

1952 - 1972

Largely due to an expansion in operations in less developed countries, a Bank-wide reorganization took effect in September of 1952. The new operational structure endured for the next twenty years. LOD staff were combined with the country-related staff from the ECD to form three distinct geographical Area Departments: Western Hemisphere (WHM); Europe, Africa and Australasia (EAA); and Asia and Middle East (AME). These units were primarily responsible for World Bank-member country relations. Functions included: loan policy and plan development; country development program appraisal and review; preparation of proposed loans; and country economic monitoring.

There was no formal divisional structure within EAA. The Department was led by A. S. G. Hoar between 1952 and 1955. Sydney Raymond Cope became Department Director in June of 1955. All three Area Departments reported to Vice President Robert Garner from 1952 to 1956. After Garner became President of the new International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1956, the Area Departments reported to J. Burke Knapp and William Iliff.

As part of the1952 reorganization, the sector-oriented staff of the former ECD formed the Technical Operations Department (TOD) in the new Area Departments and was placed in charge of project appraisal and supervision. Specifically, the TOD was responsible for: the appraisal of proposed projects; advising Area Departments on proposed projects and assisting in negotiations; supervising approved projects and assisting borrowers in procurement efforts; and monitoring and reporting on member countries' sector economies.

Bank operations in Africa continued to expand in subsequent years. In September 1953 the Bank's first General Survey Mission to an African country - Nigeria - was undertaken. In March 1955, funding for the first regional project in Africa was agreed upon. "Loan 0110 Railways and Harbours Project": financed harbor improvement of multiple ports on the east coast of the continent as well as four railway lines in the region. In 1960, the position of Special Representative for Africa was announced. The position, initially held by Henry R. Labouisse but replaced soon after by Leonard Rist, was responsible for maintaining liaison with governments, keeping the Bank informed about developments in Africa and recommending approaches to be taken.

As African countries began to achieve independence in the 1950s, the Bank enjoyed a dramatic increase in membership by African countries beginning in 1957. Between 1957, when there were still only two sub-Saharan members, and 1967, 32 African countries joined the World Bank. By 1962, this increase of member countries in Africa, together with the attendant increase in lending activities, necessitated the split of the EAA. Two new departments were created out of the former EAA: the Department of Operations - Europe (EUP) and the Department of Operations - Africa (AFR). Pierre L. Moussa was named department director of AFR.

In the early 1960s, the Bank received requests from the governments of Nigeria and Sudan for a Bank-sponsored consortium focused on pledging amounts of aid that could be provided by donor members. The Bank and its aid-providing members recommended that a consultative group was the appropriate mechanism for coordinating external aid to each of the countries. The group would meet informally as particular needs arose and provide a forum in which members could discuss the assistance they were considering, and recipient countries could keep the other members informed about development plans, policies and projects. The Nigeria Consultative Group was formally established in April 1962 and the Sudan Consultative Group was convened on November 27, 1963.

Most of the functions involved in the operation of a consultative group were already carried out by Bank department staff in its relations with countries, however they would perform these functions "more intensively or more frequently" when sponsoring groups. The operations of the groups varied according to its different circumstances but in most cases the Bank's responsibilities were, as defined in 1965: providing periodic, comprehensive reports on the country's development possibilities, problems, and performance as a basis for the consultative group's deliberations; analyzing the country's aid requirements and problematic debt commitments, and recommending types and terms of aid; assisting the recipient government to prepare or revise a development program or advise on problems in its implementation; assisting in identifying projects and other technical assistance and arranging for feasibility studies; and advising participants on which sectors and projects deserve priority for external funding. The role of the group's chairman, typically the Area or Country Director, encouraged dialogue at meetings and coordinated donor efforts to meet the country's financing needs. The department also drafted the minutes or summary of proceedings and the list of delegates of group meetings. These functions essentially remained unchanged through 1999.

Resident country and regional missions were also established in Africa beginning in 1964. That year, the World Bank opened its first African Resident Mission office in Ethiopia. An office in Nairobi, Kenya followed in 1965. In 1965 a West African office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, was opened; an East African office in Nairobi, Kenya, opened the following year. The principal function of these regional offices was to assist these new members with the identification and preparation of development projects.

In 1965 the World Bank implemented a major reorganization of country groupings in its regional departments. AFR was not effected with the exception that northern African countries (including Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco) were moved into the Europe and Middle East Department (EME). Note that these countries have since remained in regional units responsible for Middle East countries. In 1965 the Department of Operations - Africa was also renamed the Africa Department (AFR). Abdel G. El Emary served as Department Director from 1965 to 1968.

In October 1968, due to the increased volume of lending operations anticipated over the next several years, the World Bank executed a major reorganization of its regional departments. Due to the rapid increase in African member countries in the 1960s, AFR was divided into two separate departments: Eastern Africa Department (EAF) and Western Africa Department (WAF). The functions of the two units remained unchanged from their predecessor. Each new department was composed ofseveral divisions. EAF contained three divisions upon its creation and had increased to five by 1972. WAF contained five divisions during this period. EAF was led by Abdel G. El Emary from 1968 to 1970 and Michael L. Lejeune from 1970 to 1972. The Director of WAF was Roger Chaufournier from 1968 to 1972.

1972 - 1987

From the time he became World Bank president in 1968, President Robert McNamara led the Bank towards an increased focus on extreme poverty and an emphasis on the agricultural, rural, and transportation sectors. The agriculture sector had always been the primary focus of investment for the Bank in Africa, but in the 1970s this investment grew significantly. The types of agriculture, rural development, and transportation projects were also altered in terms of scope and scale. Whereas in the past many projects aimed to provide local and small-scale lending, in the 1970s lending began to support regional development projects, focusing on fertilizer use, the expansion of rural road networks, and agricultural research (often through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research [CGIAR]).

McNamara's vision for the Bank was manifested in a massive, Bank-wide reorganization completed in 1972. As part of the reorganization, the geographic organization of the Regional units was again altered. The seven departments that made up the Area Departments were elevated to five Regional Vice Presidencies (RVP). The organization of Africa into two separate units was maintained in the form of the Eastern Africa Vice Presidency (EAN) and the Western Africa Vice Presidency (WAN). All RVPs reported to the new Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP).

A more significant aspect of the reorganization, however, was the integration of the former Technical Operations Department (renamed the Projects Division [PRJ] in 1965) with the new RVPs. The period between 1952 and 1972 had been characterized by frequent reorganizations of the geographically-based area units responsible for country liaison and loan policy and negotiation. However, the division of responsibility between these units and TOD/PRJ was maintained. But in 1972, in an attempt to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sectoral skills, the reorganization removed most of the Bank's operational project work from the Projects Department to the five new Regional Vice Presidencies. Staff from the former PRJ were distributed into the Regional Vice Presidencies and were organized into sector-oriented Project Departments and were known as Central Projects Staff. Thus, rather than one Projects Department that supported projects in countries on an ad hoc basis, each RVP would maintain its own projects staff. Each RVP was, in turn, given "line authority" to analyze, decide and act on country development operations. Each RVP was responsible for planning and executing IBRD/IDA development assistance programs subject to the overall framework of Bank policies, priorities, and operating procedures. The RVPs created regional plans and budgets, ensured the effective implementation of approved plans, created country economic and sector reports, and developed and implemented loan, credit, technical assistance, and other forms of development projects. The RVPs were also responsible for maintaining sound relations with governments of assigned countries and with aid organizations and donors involved in those countries.

Upon the completion of the 1972 reorganization, EAN and WAN consisted of two Country Program Departments in addition to the new Projects Department. TheCountry Program Departments were staffed by country economists and loan officers whose primary responsibilities were: conducting area reviews of Bank activities and countries' economic and political developments; formulating country lending and economic and sector work programs and implementing country programs; and reviewing loan applications, negotiating loans, and administering loans.

The Projects Department provided technical assistance and advice to members and borrowers on sectoral issues, countrypriorities, and project development from identification through implementation and review. It consisted of economists, financial analysts, and sector specialists, and was specifically responsible for: creating sector policies; assisting countries with the identification and preparation of projects; appraising potential projects and assisting the Country Program Departments in loan negotiation and credit agreements; and helping borrowers manage consultants and procurement. Both EAN and WAN's Project Departments were initially divided into four sector-based divisions: Agriculture; Education; Public Utilities; and Transportation. Over the next fifteen years, new divisions were created for sectors such as energy, water, telecommunications, industry, finance, and urban.

Note that not all staff and operational responsibility was transferred from the former PRJ to the RVPs. Staff in sectors too small to decentralize to the five regions continued to provide a complete "operational package" of technical services to the regions. These units, such as the Population and Nutrition sector and Urban Projects sector, were known as Central Operating Projects Departments and were located in the newly formed Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP) which, like the RVPs, reported to the SVPOP. In addition, those former PRJ units which had their operational functions dispersed to the RVPs still maintained a core staff in the CPSVP with responsibility for policy and advisory work only.

Throughout the 1970s, Bank lending to Africaincreased, particularly in the agriculture and rural development sectors, but also in the urban development and industry sectors. However, by late in the decade many in the Bank and in member countries grew increasingly frustrated due to a lack of growth in many African countries. In 1979 the Bank's African governors asked for a special report describing the challenges of the region and the Bank's proposed solutions. In response the Bank published Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action in August 1981. The report discussed factors that led to slow economic growth in Africa in the recent past, analyzed policy changes and program orientation needed to promote faster growth, and concluded with a set of recommendations to donors, including doubling aid to the continent and increased reliance on structural and sectoral adjustment lending.

In order to achieve the increase in investment prescribed by the 1981 report, the Bank integrated alternative ways to raise and inject funds into the region. This involved a greater reliance on cofinancing to the point that, by the middle of the decade, more than half of Bank-financed projects in Africa included cofinancing. A Special Facility for Sub-Saharan Africa meeting was also convened in Paris in January 1985 where over a billion dollars was raised for the provision of fast-disbursing and untied (i.e procurement is not contingent upon the purchase of goods and services from the donor country) financing for the continent. In 1987 the Special Program of Assistance to Africa (SPA) was launched. Its objectives included: mobilizing resources and coordinating support for economic reforms in Africa; streamlining donor procedures; and monitoring adjustment programs for efficacy.

Roger Chaufournier continued to serve as head of the new WAN following the 1972 reorganization and would do so until 1980. He was succeeded by A. David Knox, from1980 to 1984, and Wilfried A. Thalwitz, from 1984 to 1987. Bernard R. Bell was named the Regional Vice President of EAN in 1972. He was succeed by S. Shahid Husain, from 1974 to 1976, and Willi A. Wapenhans, from 1977 to 1984. In 1985, due to shifts in country memberships, EAN was renamed the Eastern and Southern Africa Vice Presidency (ESA). The division of African countries between WAN and the new ESA did not change. Edward V. K. Jaycox served as Vice President of ESA from 1985 until 1987.

1987 - 1996

While the composition of the Country Program Departments and Projects Department changed between 1972 and 1987 (most notably with a considerable increase in the number of Projects Department sector divisions), the organization and functions of the RVPs was consistent until 1987. In July of 1987, however, a Bank-wide reorganization under President Barber Conable altered the structure of the RVPs considerably. The changes were brought on by a desire to strengthen the Bank's country focus by making the Country Department the basic program and budget unit.

The new Country Departments that replaced the Country Program Departments combined the macro-economic work of the former Country Program Departments and the sector work of the former Regional Projects Department. Each Country Department would consist of a Country Operations Division (COD) as well as multiple Sectoral Operations Divisions (SOD) made up of staff from the former Regional Projects Departments. The COD was composed of lead, country, and specialized economists as well as country officers and was responsible for: liaising with state governments and developing knowledge of issues in the country; preparing and supervising the country's aid strategy; and providing full responsibility for certain country-wide operations such as Structural Adjustment Loans and country economic work. SODs were responsible for overall sectoral strategy and for planning, programming and implementing development activities for the countries in their respective sectoral specialties; this would include the provision of full lending project management as well as lending and sector evaluation work.

Not all staff was moved from each Region's Project Department into the Country Departments' SODs. Those remaining formed a new Regional Technical Department within each RVP. It was responsible for higher level knowledge collection, assessment, and dissemination. The Technical Department, which was organized into sector-focused divisions, was to stimulate innovation in operational work and undertake strategic thinking by providing advice, operational support, regional studies, staff training and the dissemination of materials to Bank staff, donors, and other institutions outside the Bank. The Department would continue to offer operational help in the form of task management, task support, and advice. They would also work closely with Policy, Planning and Research (PPR) staff in conducting regional studies and reviews and advising on sector policy and research priorities.

A subsequent reorganization in 1993 strengthened the Country Departments' SODs through unit reorganization and a transfer of staff from the Regional Technical Departments to the SODs. The Technical Departments were greatly reduced in size and were restructured to reflect the emphasis on sectoral and thematic responsibilities of the SODs. The Technical Departments operational support function was consequently reduced.

During the 1987 reorganization the number of RVPs was decreased from six to four. This involved the merger of the Eastern and Southern Africa Vice Presidency (ESA) and the Western Africa Vice Presidency (WAN) into a single Africa Vice Presidency (AFR). AFR initially contained six Country Departments and a single Technical Department. Another reorganization of the Bank's RVPs occurred in 1991 and involved the expansion of the four RVPs into six. However, AFR was not affected by the change. Edward V. K. Jaycox assumed the role of Vice President of AFR until 1996. Jean-Louis Sarbib replaced him in 1996.

1996 - 2014

In November 1996 the World Bank released Taking Action to Reduce Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. The document reported on the Africa Region's Poverty Task Force. It also outlined specific actions that the Bank should take, suggesting an intensified emphasis on poverty reduction in Bank programming and lending, and the establishment of stronger partnerships for poverty reduction.

Another reorganization in 1996-97 modified the changes made to the RVPs in 1987 and 1993. The RVP continued to be responsible for all aspects of country development assistance for its member countries, including: country assistance strategy; lending operations; technical assistance operations; and economic and sector work. However, the primary objective of the reorganization was to deepen the country focus and responsiveness to client needs. This was accomplished in a number of ways. The most striking changes concerned the new Country Management Units (CMUs) which replaced the former Country Departments. The CMUs were smaller than their predecessor (that is, each was responsible for a smaller number of countries) while their number correspondingly increased. The internal reorganization of AFR resulted in an increase from five Country Departments in May 1996 to sixteen CMUs in November of the same year.

In addition, an increased decentralization of CMU staff and country directors from Bank headquarters in Washington to locations within client countries was undertaken. At the same time, a strengthening of authority with regard to strategy and budget was given to the country directors. The CMUs continued to be responsible for overall preparation and supervision of the country's assistance strategy, full lending project management, and evaluation of lending and sector work.

During the reorganization, the former Technical Departments were changed into Sector or Technical Families. The role of the Technical Families, which consisted of sector and project economists and selected specialist staff, was to formulate knowledge on technical subjects and best practice and to suggest innovation through research and development. A Technical Families group was placed alongside a number of CMUs within each Regional Vice Presidency.

As part of the 1996 reorganization, Edward V. K. Jaycox was replaced by two co-Vice Presidents for the Africa Region: Jean-Louis Sarbib and Callisto E. Madavo. This new arrangement effectively split the region into West Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa with one new VP responsible for each. This arrangement lasted until 2000, when Sarbib became the new Regional Vice President of Middle East and North Africa (MNA), leaving Madavo as the sole VP for AFR. Madavo was subsequently replaced by Gobind Nankani in 2004. Obiageli Ezekwesili was appointed to the position in 2007 and was replaced by Makhtar Diop in 2012.

2014 - Present

In order to stimulate the sharing of knowledge and best practices across the Bank, President Jim Kim introduced a Bank-wide reorganization in 2014 that removed sector staff from the Regional Vice Presidencies and placed them in one of fourteen Global Practices (GPs) or five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs). The GPs are responsible for each of the major thematic areas that the Bank supports through projects, such as agriculture, water, and education. Each GP functions as a vertical pillar of technical expertise and is responsible for: defining the strategic direction and the World Bank's activity in their respective sector; developing and deploying expertise globally; delivering integrated solutions to client countries; and capturing and leveraging knowledge in their respective fields. The CCSAs, on the other hand, serve as horizontal pillars providing leadership in areas such as climate change, gender, and public-private partnerships and focusing on Bank-wide strategic goals and directions.

After the 2014 reorganization, the Regional Vice Presidencies exclusive function became the overall client engagement. Specifically, each RVP: sets and drives regional strategic direction; offers development solutions to clients; agrees on work program and budget with GPs and recruits expert GP staff to meet client needs; manages corporate and other stakeholder relationships; and oversees country programs. Each RVP retained multiple Country Management Unit (CMUs) responsible for one or more countries. The CMU is the primary interface with the country and is responsible for ensuring global solutions areapplied to the local context. Specifically, the CMU: identifies client challenges and opportunities; sets country strategy and manages selectivity; develops work programs and provides solutions; manages client and stakeholder relationships; and manages the country office.

The number of RVPs did not change as a result of the 2014 reorganization nor did the country make-up of each RVP. Makhtar Diop served as Vice President of the Africa Region throughout the reorganization.

Archival history

Management of World Bank records was originally undertaken according to a central filing system adopted in 1946. It included records originating from all parts of the Bank, with the exception of the records of the offices of the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Personnel and Legal departments. The records were filed in four sections: operational files by region and country; general files on all topics not specific to a region or country; membership, bond, and finance files; and official documents. From this early period, it is the "Operational Files" which are included in this fonds.

In 1972, separate Regional Information Service Centers (RISCs) for the new Regional Vice Presidencies were established under the general control of the Central Files Unit. As responsibility for operations in sub-Saharan Africa was divided into separate Regional Vice Presidencies (RVPs) at this time, a RISC for each RVP was established; the East Africa Region RISC was opened in January 1973 and the West Africa Region RISC was opened in January 1974. When the two African RVPs combined in 1987, so did the two African RISCs, forming a single Africa Regional Information Service Center. Within these RISCs the records were maintained in the same basic order as they had been during the 1946-1971 period; that is, the regional general files were handled as one body of records followed by files maintained on each country.

It was the responsibility of the Region and its units to regularly transfer official country and regional operational records to their RISC. In practice, however, regional front offices and the various RVP units did not always do this and would instead maintain their records on their own. By the late 1980s it became apparent that gaps in the Records Centers' holdings existed. In part to rectify this situation, the Regional units began, in 1992, to send records directly to the Archives rather than to the appropriate filing center. The "official" records of the regional operations were still required to be transferred to information centers until 1998 when all RISCS were terminated.

When the RISCs were discontinued in 1998, all records-keeping responsibilities were turned over to the regional offices. According to the Bank's Administrative Manual Statement 10.11: Management of Records, "Individual units maintain custody of their active records until such time that they are either transferred to the Archives or destroyed in accordance with approved records retention and disposition schedules. The WBG Archives has custody and control over access to records over20 years old." In practice, this means that records are often transferred to the Archives at a point before they reach 20 years of age and are therefore still technically the property of the originating department even though physically they are in the care of the Archives. While the records are still less than 20 years old the originating department is able to request and use the records they have transferred to the Archives.

Some of the records in the "operational records" and "Regional operational records" series were subject to archival processing in the early 1990s that resulted in new series classifications being created and ascribed. Initially, the country files from the period 1946-1971 were intellectually arranged in alphabetical order by name of country and a new series was created for each country. After the termination of the RISCs in 1998, the Archives added the 1972-1998 country files maintained in the RISCs to the files of each country from the period 1946-1971. Those records that had been transferred directly to the archives rather than to the RISCs (as described above) were not included in this exercise.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were transferred from regional units either directly to the World Bank Archives or first to the Region's Information Service Center and then to the Archives. In all cases, approved records retention and disposition schedules were used.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The countries included in the Africa region (AFR) have remained constant throughout its history, with the exception being the removal of northern African countries (Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco) into the Europe and Middle East Department (EME) in 1965. These countries have since remained in regional units responsible for Middle East countries. Records related to operations in these countries are not included in this fonds.

This fonds has been provisionally arranged into 13 series. Sub-headings are used to break up the content of this field according to provisional series. For a complete list of the provisional series, see the "System of Arrangement" field.

Operational records

The majority of the records in this fonds are country operational records. The records in the "operational records" series broadly consist of project records relating to the negotiation and administration of loans as well as general country records relating to economic and sector study. These records were created by Area Departments (1947-1972), Country Departments (CDs, 1972-1997) and Country Management Units (CMUs, 1997-2010) as well as the Economic Department (1946-1952), Technical Operations Department (TOD, 1952-1965), Projects Department (1965-1972) and regional project departments (1972 - 1987), technical departments (1987 - 1997), and sector departments (1997 - 2010). See the "Administrative history" field for a history of these units and their functions.

Records related to the Bank's projects overseen by AFR are contained in the "operational records" series. These records relate to investment, structural adjustment, and other development projects financed, co-financed, and / or managed by the Bank. Note that projects funded or co-funded by external bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), national governments, and trust funds but which were executed by the Bank are included.

Records relating to all phases of the World Bank Project Cycle, from conception through negotiation and completion,are found here. Project records contained in this fonds were created by both the unit identified as the designated record keeping unit within the Region and, in smaller number, the regional units that provided project support. Included are records relating to not only completed projects but also to abandoned (or dropped) projects (i.e. projects that were abandoned in the course of preparation or that failed to gain Board approval) and suspended projects (i.e. approved projects, including those partially disbursed, which were suspended and not resumed). Records related to the discussion and negotiation of projects that were never initiated are also included.

Correspondence files make up the bulk of the project records and relate to the identification, preparation, appraisal, negotiation, approval, supervision, fund disbursement, completion, and review of each individual project. Correspondence is in the form of letters, printed email, memoranda, telexes, and faxes. Accompanying materials most often include aide-memoires, minutes of meetings, Terms of Reference, and back-to-office reports. Correspondence is between the Bank and government officials, ambassadors, institutions, contractors, and consultants.

Project records may also include: Project Implementation Index File (PIIF) documents; executive project summary/project concept documents; annual progress reports; supplemental documents; Project Completion Reports (PCRs, also known as Completion Reports); consultant reports; supervision reports; and final versions of mandatory reports. A small amount of project-related newspaper clippings, financial statements, photographs, hand-written notes, maps, engineering plans, and copies of loan agreements and related documents may also be found. External documents received from borrowers, governments, contractors, consultants, etc., including studies, reports, plans, specifications, PIIF documents, etc., are also included.

General country files are also included in the "operational records" series. These refer to correspondence (often in the form of chronological files), topical and subject files, and other records related to IBRD/IDA lending programs, other than those maintained for individual loans and credits. Records relate to economic, social, and sector work study, research, analysis, and the development of sector and country programs, policies, and strategies. Specifically, these records might relate to: capital markets; indebtedness; investment law; missions to the country; technical assistance; disbursement; government relations; inquiries; local bond issues; cofinancing; consultative groups; aid groups; country liaison; resident representatives; Country Program Papers (CPP) preparation; and Project Implementation Review (PIR). Records relating to and filed according to the various sectors of investment are also included. In each series, country sector files may include but are not limited to: agriculture; education; energy; industrial development and finance; industry; population; health; nutrition; telecommunications; tourism; transportation; urban development; water and sewage; governance; public sector development; private sector development; and social development. General country file records take the form of correspondence, memoranda, minutes of meetings, notes for files, back-to-office reports, aide-memoires, briefing papers, and reports. Records relating to other analytical and advisory activities (AAA) and the related collection of data for these activities may also be included. These records may include research material in the form of surveys and spreadsheets and guides created or used for analysis or processing of data.

Country-specific records relating to country program management are also included in the "operational records" series. These records were maintained primarily by the Country Department headquarter units and were used to document Bank Group assistance planning and strategy for each country. Records may relate to the creation of Bank reports such as: the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS); Country Briefs; Country Strategy Papers; Country Economic Memoranda; Medium Term Framework Papers; and policy statements. These records take the form of: agendas; briefings and reports of country team meetings; final versions of reports; consultant reports on specific sector or project issues; meeting summaries and notes; and background materials used in the preparation of reports. Briefing papers prepared for Annual Meetings and other reports to management may also be included.

Also included are informational records related to each country and to development issues specific to that country. Many of the topics covered in these records are focused on the various development sectors. These records primarily contain externally created reference material, although a small amount of internally generated material (such as press releases, speeches and addresses, and material related to internally sponsored conferences and seminars) may also be included. Reference materials may include: lists of government officials; information on external consultants; newspaper clippings related to country matters; press releases related to Bank and country activities; correspondence with government officials and/or ministries; and documents related to the activities of field offices in the country. Also included, in small amounts, are books, journals, magazines, articles, extracts, directories, manuals, handbooks, guides, and dissertations originating from elsewhere in the Bank Group or of external origin. Topics include common development sectors (agriculture, transportation, education, etc.) as they relate to specific countries as well as: resettlement; indigenous peoples; participation; Global Environment Facility (GEF); World Bank operation policies; country politics, legislation and economic situation; debt; cofinancing and trust funds; and natural resource management.

Regional operational records related to the Africa Region are also included in this fonds. Included are the records of projects or programs that span more than a single country, such as the founding of new regional banks, the establishment of a common market, tourism projects, and the creation of regional infrastructure, such as roads, ports, electric power generation and telecommunications. Records relating to the Region's participation in interrelated development activities that have been aggregated into a coordinated development program are also included. These include, for example, the Onchocerciasis Control Programme and the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Program (SSATP). The types of project-related records are similar to those described in the country operational records above. Also included are general records related to economic, social and sector work study and analysis and the development of sector and regional programs, policies, and strategies. In terms of topic and form, these records are also similar to the general operational records described above. However, records relate to either the region as a whole or to multi-country areas of the region.

Project auditing

Series contains records relating to the regular auditing of Bank-funded projects in the Africa region conducted by the Operational Quality and Knowledge (AFTQK) department within AFR. Records primarily contain audit reports produced by external firms but may also contain: correspondence; project appraisal documents; legal agreements; and implementation completion reports.

Departmental subject files, reference materials, and correspondence files

Non-country specific reference materials and subject files maintained by regional departments including both country departments and sector units are included in this fonds. Topics include the various development sectors as well as Bank operational topics such as: policy development; project identification; project procurement; consultants; exports; macroeconomic stability and growth; and private sector assessment. Reference materials may originate from elsewhere within the Bank or external to the Bank and may include: books; journals; magazines; newspaper clippings; articles; extracts, directories; manuals; handbooks; guides; Bank reports; and dissertations. Subject files related to sector-related organizations are also included. These records may include: reports published or disseminated by associations; correspondence between the Bank and organizations; meeting related records; and coordination records.

External aid coordination

Series consists of records relating to the development and implementation of strategies for cofinancing and other instances of aid coordination. Records originate in country and sector departments and relate to cooperative relationships between the Bank Group and donors, cofinanciers, development agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other concerned organizations. Specifically, records may relate to: collaborative development assistance; Bank-sponsored seminars and conferences; cofinancing and trust funds; the Special Program for Assistance (SPA) in Africa; the Consultant Trust Fund Program (CTFP); and external funding for consultants. Records may include: copies of agreements and other legal documents; initiating briefs; reports and memoranda concerning disbursement of cofinanced funds; periodic reports to cofinanciers; and other related materials. Series also contains correspondence files of the Regional Cofinancing Advisor. Records were created while the position was held by Philip Birnham (1985 to 1995) and by Alison Rosenberg (1995 to 1998). The records relate to overall coordination of cofinancing forthe Africa Region and, specifically, to the Special Program of Assistance (SPA) for Africa.

The series also contains records documenting the establishment, proceedings and activities of the consultative groups and aid groups convened and chaired by the Bank to coordinate external financial assistance and which the Bank provided secretarial support to. These include consultative groups for Nigeria (1962), Sudan (1963), Ghana (sponsored by Bank from 1970 after participation under IMF sponsorship since 1967), East Africa (1968), Ethiopia (1971), Zaire - Democratic Republic of Congo (1971), Tanzania (1977), Uganda (1978), Zambia (1978), Mauritius (1980), Somalia (1983), Sao Tome and Principe (1984), Senegal (1984), Zambia (1984), Mauritania (1985), Gambia (1986), Madagascar (1986), Malawi (1986), Mozambique (1987), Guinea (1987), Zimbabwe (1992), Eritrea (1994), Sierra Leone (1994), Angola (1995), and Cote d'Ivoire (1995). Many of the consultative groups typically met bi-annually for several successive years or for longer than a decade such as Nigeria and Tanzania with Bank staff leading smaller sector or local consultative meetings in between the bi-annual group meetings. Files contain a large body of correspondence between the country department staff, the chairman who was typically the Area or Country Director for consultative groups, and donor members of the groups including the recipient country. Correspondence includes copies of outgoing memoranda and letters, cables, original letters from member government officials (some addressed to the Bank President), notes to the file, minutes of pre-consultative group meetings, sector, and/or local meetings, and drafts of documents. Topics covered by the correspondence include policies and practices of the consultative groups; its origins and establishment; changes in membership or participation; pledges and terms of aid by donor countries; and collaboration with International Monetary Fund and other multilateral participants or observers.

Also included are the set of official meeting documents of the earliest Bank-chaired Consultative Groups for Sudan and Nigeria and other countries aforementioned that contain: preliminary meeting summaries, notice of meeting, agenda, list of delegates, Bank-authored or government authored memoranda or economic reports and policy papers, Chairman's report of proceedings, transcripts or verbatim proceedings, participants statements, and press release. Meeting files also contain small amount of administrative correspondence authored bySecretary's department or the Area or Country Department concerning meeting preparations, distribution of documents, or announcements about participants in attendance of the meetings.

There is also a smaller volume of files relating to donor meetings or investor conferences chaired by the department, and consultative meetings or roundtables chaired by other organizations outside of the Bank including Organization for Economic Development (OECD) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in which the Bank participated beginning in the early 1970s. These include (but are not limited to) Central African Republic, Burundi, Benin, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda, Lesotho, Togo and Mali.

Participation in external working and policy groups, committees, and other organizations

Series consists of records related to AFR staff participation in committees, task forces, working and policy groups, and other organizations external to, but in some cases sponsored by, the World Bank. Many of these organizations focus on regional cooperation, development, and research, such as the Central African Customs and Economic Union (UDEAC), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA). Records may relate to administration, membership, and activities of organization, and the work or research undertaken or sponsored by the organization.

VP Subject files

Series contains records relating to a variety of activities of which the Office of the Africa Vice President are responsible or involved. These include: public relations; borrower feedback; VP reorganization; and VP unit evaluation and organization. The records include correspondence and internal memoranda related to the various activities, as well as country and thematic briefs and meeting materials. Records related to the Region's participation in and leadership of the joint World Bank-IMF Africa Club for staff are included. Asmall amount of audio visual material in the form of video and audio tapes are also included in this series. They include recordings of interviews, meetings, and social and cultural events. A small amount of records also relate to the visit of World Bank senior staff, including World Bank presidents, to African countries and meetings held with country leaders during these trips.

VP Correspondence

Series includes the chronological files of a number of AFR Vice Presidents, including: Vice President Edward Jaycox (1991-1996); jointly Jean-Louis Sarbib and Callisto Madavo (1996-1997, during which time the two shared the position of AFR Vice President); Gobind Nankani (2004-2007); and Obiageli Ezekwesili (2007-2008). Chronological files of the VP front office and individual front office staff are also included.

Series contains the "Commodity files" of Barend de Vries, Chief Economist for the Western Africa Department and Region between 1970 and 1975. Included are copies of memos and reports relating to international and regional production and pricing of various commodities. Also included are Bank produced reports on commodity trade and price trends and price forecasts as well as papers on population and family planning programs for Africa.

Departmental Communications and Support

Series relates to the activities of AFR departments asked, usually on an ad hoc basis, to respond to correspondence addressed to World Bank Group presidents, regional Vice Presidents, and other staff members.

Series also consistsof briefing books prepared for senior officials in preparation for visits to African countries as well as for participation in meetings, seminars, and speeches. Briefing books were created by AFR units including VP front office staff and were prepared for AFR senior officials as well as for other senior Bank staff including World Bank presidents and Executive Directors. These books commonly contain: program of country visit; background profiles on country leaders and officials; talking points; country overview; World Bank Group activities; visit and meeting briefs; project meeting briefs; and other World Bank authored reports which serve as background information. In some files, travel information accompanies or is part of the briefing books. A small amount of photographs of dignitaries and bank senior officials documenting their visits to resident missions is also included.

Business plan and budget management records

Series includes records relating to the business plan and budget management (i.e. planning, implementation, monitoring, and review) activities of the Region. These records include annual budget files created by the Region's budget and administrative units as well as Business Plans covering three-year periods and Retrospective and Mid-Year Reviews. Records relating to the budgets of country and technical departments are included primarily in the form of correspondence and budget reports and tools. Budget records created by the Regional VP, Country Departments, and the Regional Resource Management and Information Technology Department (AFTRM) are included.

Department directors' chronological files

Chronological files created and maintained by AFR country department directors and technical department directors are included in this series. These may include incoming and outgoing correspondence, copies of reports, and copies of other records created or received within the unit.

Procurement policy, assessment, review, and training

Series contains records related to the regional oversight of procurement for goods and services needed for operational work. Activities include the review and audit of procurement activities. Procurement audits and review evaluate: project preparation procedure with regard to procurement; internal regional procedures; country procurement practices; and other activities. Records also consist of correspondence and documents relating to the review of ongoing project procurement activities.

Records also consist of background correspondence and documents relating to the formulation of Country Procurement Assessment Reports (CPAR). Records related to procurement training activities are also included.

Management and oversight of unit functions

Records relating to the management and oversight of the Region's country and technical departments' functional responsibilities, work program, and policy development are included in this fonds. Topics may include: work program development; unit policy and procedures; agency structure and organization; management improvement studies; coordination and direction; departmental reviews; regional objectives and operational directives; and staffing. Records may include: work program agreements and monthly reports; research program materials; various task force records including some final reports; unit reviews; management team meeting records; management retreats; records related to the 1987 and 1991 reorganizations of the operations complex and subsequent reorganization of the Technical Departments; and general correspondence.

Series also includes records maintained in the Region's front office relating to the activities and management of the Region's field offices. Records may include: correspondence; reports; Terms of Reference; establishment agreements; audit reports; and contracts. Records may relate to administrative matters such as: renovation; security; inventory; capital budget; audits; and local staff.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The following arrangement is provisional. Records are arranged in 12 series:

  • Operational records

  • Project auditing

  • Departmental reference materials, subject files, and unit correspondence files

  • External aid coordination

  • Participation in external working and policy groups, committees, and other organizations

  • VP Subject files

  • VP Correspondence

  • Departmental Communications and Support

  • Business plan and budget management records

  • Department directors' chronological files

  • Procurement policy, assessment, review, and training

  • Management and oversight of unit functions

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

While a finding aid specific for the records of this fonds does not exist, researchers interested in operational projects (loans, credits, grants and trust funds) executed by AFR are encouraged to reference the Projects and Operations Database on-line. Lists of archival records for many of the Bank's projects can be found there as well as some final reports and contextual information specific to each project. The database search can be narrowed to include only those projects related to AFR. Should researchers wish to access the archival records related to these projects, cite the Project ID number when making a request.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See Records of the Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency (WB IBRD/IDA MNA) for operational records of northern Africa countries.

  • See the various sector department fonds for records relating to policy development and project and regional support offered by the non-regional sector departments. A list of sector department fonds can be found on the List of Fonds page.

  • See Resource Mobilization (WB IBRD/IDA CFOP) for records related to trust funds and cofinancing.

  • See Records of External Affairs - Documentation of institutional meetings, press conferences, and other events (WB IBRD/IDA EXT-12) for sound recordings of the East Africa Consultative Group.

  • See Secretary's Department Consultative Groups (Meetings) general files for additional background records on the Bank's role in aid coordination, meeting procedures, and 1965 review of consultative groups.

  • See the World Bank Group Documents and Reports repository for digitized consultative group reports of proceedings and other documents. Calendars of aid meetings in the 1990s produced by the Operations Policy Department are also digitized and available in the database.

  • Records of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (WB IBRD/IDA CGIAR).

  • Records of the Senior Vice President of Operations (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_106).

  • See the personal papers of O. Hursit Calika (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_94). Calika was employed in various units of the Africa Region from 1954 to 1968.

  • See records of World Bank staff employed by the Africa Regional Vice Presidency: Callisto Madavo (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-27); Gautam Kaji (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-24); Jochen Kraske (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-07); Richard E. Barry (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-02); Leonard B. Rist (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-09) and Debrework Zewdie. These sub-fonds were created for cases in which the staff member accumulated records in the various offices is which they served and thus the records cannot be assigned to a singlefonds for a single office.

  • See Personal Papers of Frank K. Vita - Eastern Africa Department (EAF) chronological file (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_111-01) for records related to Vita's operational work in Africa between 1969 and 1972 and Personal Papers of Frank K. Vita - Industrial Development and Finance Division, Western Africa Projects Department (WAPID) country and project records (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_111-04) for records related to his work as a Senior Operations Officer in WAPID.

  • For oral histories of past AFR Vice Presidents, visit the World Bank Group Archives Oral History website and see the following interviews: Sydney Cope; Michael Lejeune; Roger Chaufournier; Wilfried Thalwitz; Bernard Bell; S. Shahid Husain; Willi Wapenhans; Edward Jaycox. Also, browse by country and view transcripts of interviews in which specific countries are discussed.

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Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

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Dates of creation revision deletion

31 March 2016




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