Fonds - Records of the Economic Policy Reform Sector

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Records of the Economic Policy Reform Sector


  • 1984 - 2005 (predominantly 1997-2005) (Creation)
  • 1984 - 2005 (predominantly 1997-2005) (Creation)

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169.66 linear feet of textual records

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Biographical history

The Economic Policy Reform Sector includes those departments that were responsible for policy, review, and operational support functions related to the areas of macroeconomic growth, fiscal policy, international trade, structural adjustment, and debt management. These functions primarily lie in the Economic Policy Division (PRMEP) of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PREM), as well as in related units such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Unit (PRMHP) and the International Trade Department (PRMTR).

The creation of PRMEP occurred as part of a Bank-wide reorganization in 1997 that included the introduction of Bank networks and a simultaneous reorganization of the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC); the Bank's research and policy development group. As part of the latter, functions then maintained by DEC, such as research and policy work and operational support in fields related to economic policy reform as well as country strategy and adjustment operational review, were transferred into PRMEP. This move was made in order to promote greater collaboration between DEC, sector departments, Bank Regions, and other networks related to economic policy reform. Further, it was recognized that the country strategy and adjustment operations review functions were unsustainable in DEC and more appropriate in a sector department which offered closer proximity to staff and operational work in the Bank's regions and the ability to work across Bank operations as a network division.

During the DEC reorganization, three DEC units were terminated: the global economics research oriented International Economics Department (IEC); the development economics policy research oriented Policy Research Department (PRD); and the Development Policy Group (DPG), which was responsible for adjustment operations and country strategy review. Before its termination, IEC consisted of the following divisions: the International Trade Division (IECIT); the International Finance Division (IECIF); the International Economic Analysis and Prospects Division (IECAP); the Systems Division (IECSD); and the Socio-Economic Data Division (IECSE). PRD included the following divisions: the Environment, Infrastructure and Agriculture Division (PRDEI); the Finance and Private Sector Development Division (PRDFD); the Poverty and Human Resources Division (PRDPH); the Public Economics Division (PRDPE); the Trade Policy Division (PRDTP); and the Transition and Macro-Adjustment Division (PRDTM). DPG did not have subordinate units.

The functions and staff of IEC, PRD, and DPG were subsequently absorbed into the following new units: the Development Research Group (DECRG) and the Development Prospects Group (DECPG) in DEC, and the Economic Policy Division (PRMEP). DECRG absorbed the divisions, functions, and budget of PRD, and was established as the primary development economics policy research unit in Bank operations. The former IECIF, IECAP, and the subordinate Commodity Policy and Analysis Unit (IECCP) were merged to create the new DECPG,replacing IEC as the Bank's primary global economics and financial analysis policy research unit. The Economic Policy Division (PRMEP) absorbed economic research staff from both the PRD and IEC divisions. The DPG functions and staff were primarily mapped and absorbed into PRMEP, but other adjustment operations and country strategies review staff were also mapped into the other PREM divisions, including: the Gender Division (PRMGE); the Poverty Division (PRMPO); and the Public Sector Management Division (PRMPS).

PRMEP was responsible for coordinating World Bank strategy, knowledge management, quality enhancement, staffing and professional development, and partnerships related to economic policy. More specifically, PRMEP objectives included:

  • preparing and maintaining a knowledge base in selected areas;

  • coordinating Bank activities: Country Assistance Strategies (CAS), adjustment loans, technical assistance (TA) loans, economic sector work (ESW), seminars, workshops, local capacity building;

  • building and maintaining data bases, analytical tools and other resource materials to reduce costs;

  • improving consensus with partners by constructing a Bank view on relevant topics; and

  • improving staff skills.

PRMEP supported operational and policy work in five thematic areas: development effectiveness; macroeconomic and financial management; growth and inequality; macroeconomic sustainability and creditworthiness; and trade and competiveness. The functions of PRMEP were undertaken in close collaborationwith DECRG and DECPG, the Bank regions, and the other departments of PREM.

PRMEP was governed by the Economic Policy (EP) Sector Board. The EP Sector Board main objectives included:

  • strengthening the analytical underpinnings of Country Assistance Strategies (CASs);

  • improving the quality of economic analysis and policy dialogue; and

  • advising the Bank on strategic economic policy matters including adjustment lending operations.

The EP Sector Board consisted primarily of representatives from theabove mentioned units, and representatives from the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPSI). Many of DEC's representatives on the Sector Board served in a dual appointment within DEC units and PRMEP. This was done to promote greater synergy and cross-support between economic policy research and operational staff in DEC, PREM, and the Bank regions.

Homi Kharas assumed the role of Director for PRMEP in July 1997.

In 2000, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Unit (PRMHP) was established in PREM, following the termination of the Debt Initiative Group (AFTD1), which was focused on HIPC related issues and located in the Africa Vice Presidency (AFR). The HIPC Initiative, a joint program of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, was originally launched in 1996 and served as a comprehensive country debt relief program that worked in close collaboration with bilateral creditors, other multilateral banks, and representatives from civil society groups and non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs). At its inception, the AFTD1 was placed in the Africa Vice Presidency (AFR) primarily because most countries eligible under the HIPC program were located in Sub-Saharan Africa. AFTD1 was replaced by PRMHP, however, due to the raised profile of the program following the launch of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative in 1999 and an increasing number of eligible heavily indebted poor countries in other regions. PRMHP was created in order to serve as the main implementation unit in the Bank. PRMHP operated as a separate unit in PREM but coordinated closely with PRMEP in the area of debt management within the thematic area of macroeconomic sustainability and creditworthiness. PRMHP would later be merged in 2005, however, with PRMEP due to the growing demand of debt management advisory services in Bank operations. Axel von Trotsenburg, the former Manager of AFTD1, assumed the role of Senior Manager for PRMHP.

In 2000, Uri Dadush assumed the dual appointment of Director for PRMEP and DECPG.

In 2002, the international trade functions were transferred from PRMEP to a new International Trade Department (PRMTR) within PREM. Uri Dadush was appointed the new Director for PRMTR. With Dadush's new appointment, Yaw Ansu was named Director for PRMEP. The PRMEP was re-organized shortly thereafter to coordinate economic policy work in the following thematic economic policy areas:

  • growth and labor markets;

  • managing volatility;

  • fiscal policy;

  • subnational regional economies; and

  • data and tools foreconomic analysis.

Operational and policy work focused on the following areas:

  • macroeconomic management in the areas of economic growth, debt management, fiscal sustainability, managing volatility, and subnational economic management;

  • integrative policy analysis; and

  • country strategies.

PRMEP functions included: providing support to economic sector work (ESW) in the Regions; reviewing Country Assistance Strategies (CASs) and adjustment operations; preparing papers for the Executive Board; preparing policy notes on major country or global economic developments or issues; preparing briefs and speeches for senior management; and leading special task forces.

In 2004, PRMHP was mapped into the Debt Department (PRMDE) located in PREM. Around 2005, PRMDE was merged with PRMEP and renamed the Economic Policy and Debt Department (PRMED).

In 2005, Vikram Nehru replaced Ansu as Director of PRMED and in 2008, Carlos A. Primo Braga succeeded him.

As of 2014, PRMED continues to be responsible for the Bank's operational and policy work on macroeconomic management and growth, fiscal policy, and debt issues. It also continues to play a significant role in debt management activities. In addition to the HIPC Initiative, it is involved in coordinating: the multi-donor Debt Management Facility (DMF); the Debt Reduction Initiative; the Debt Reduction Facility (DRF) for IDA-Only Countries; the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF); and medium-term debt management strategies (MTDS).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were transferred to the World Bank Group Archives using approved records retention and disposition schedules assigned to PRMEP, PRMDE, PRMED, and PRMTR or a Bank-wide schedule for common records.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Country project files

The fonds includes country project files from 1984 to 2002. The country project files include extensive records related to Structural Adjustment Loans (SALs) and Sector Adjustment Loans (SECALS) administered for individual countries. PRMEP inherited the responsibility to review and coordinate sector adjustment operations and Country Assistance Strategies (CASs) from the Development Policy Group (DPG) of DEC in 1997. Many of the records created prior to PRMEP include records from the following units: the Country Policy Department (CPD); the Economic Advisory Staff (EAS); and DPG. The SAL and SECAL related records in the country project files include: memoranda; aide-memoires; Terms of Reference; back-to-office reports completed for pre-appraisal and post-appraisal missions for SALs and SECALS; Country Strategy Paper (CSP) mission reports; SALs and SECALS program performance audit and progress reports; initiating memoranda for SALs and SECALs; country project proposals; Loan Committee meeting minutes regarding the approval and progress of SALs and SECALs of a particular country; and loan agreements. Correspondence and memoranda within the country projects files primarily include communications from staff in units responsible for maintaining and reviewing structural adjustment operations and country strategies, including: CPD from the years 1984 to 1987; EAS from the years 1987 to 1991; and DPG from the years 1991 to 1997. Much of the correspondence and memoranda are also communications between CPD, EAS, DPG and Regional VPs, Directors, and economic staff regarding the planning, status, review, and approval of country SALs/ SECALs and country strategies. Other communications are between units from the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC), and Regions regarding collaboration on SALs or SECALs.

Records created after 1997 in the country project files include correspondence and memoranda between the following parties: the PREM VP; the PRMEP Director; Regional VPs, Directors, and economicstaff; the Development Research Group (DECRG); the Development Prospects Group (DECPG); the Operations Evaluation Department (OED); members of the Regional Operations Committee (ROC); members of the Operations Policy Committee (OPC); and the Managing Director of Operations (MDOPS). The memoranda and correspondence primarily focus on review and approval of Country Assistance Strategies (CASs) and structural adjustment operations specific to countries. Draft CAS reports, SALs/SECALs reports, SALs/SECALs project information, and Memoranda of the President regarding CASs are also included with extensive comments by the above mentioned parties. Meeting minutes and agenda from OPC and ROC regarding review and approval of CASs and SALs /SECALs specific to a country are also included. The country project files focus on numerous types of SALs/SECALs administered in a country for various sectors, including but not limited to : Financial Sector Adjustment Loans (FSAL); Financial and Enterprise Sector Adjustment Loans (FESAL); Agricultural Sector Adjustment Loans (ASAL); Economic & Financial Adjustment Loans (EFAL); and Social Security Sector Adjustment Loans (SECAL).

Management and organization

The fonds also consists of management and organization records for PRMEP and its successor the Economic Policy and Debt Department (PRMED) from 1997 to 2005. This includes: Economic Policy (EP) Sector Board meeting minutes; business plans; work programs and budget records; staffing records; and workshops, seminars, and professional development training session records. The records also include broader PREM Network organization and management records, including: PREM Council meeting minutes; memoranda; PREM retreat records; and PREM Week planning records. Records detailing PRMEP collaboration with DEC and its subordinate units the Development Research Group (DECRG), the Development Prospects Group (DECPG), and the Economic Development Institute (EDI) are also included. These consist of: correspondence and memoranda between the DEC Vice President, DECRG, DECPG, and PRMEP; economic data, statistics, and policy reports produced by DECRG, DECPG, and PRMEP; Knowledge Management System (KMS) records related to the management of PRMEP's website and economic data and systems in collaboration with DECRG and DECPG; planning records for proposed economic research coordinated by DECRG, DECPG, and PRMEP; and economic training planning records organized jointly by EDI and PRMEP. Correspondence and memoranda related to PRMEP's participation in Bank-IMF Annual Meetings and involvement with the annual publication of the Bank's World Development Report (WDR) are also included for the years 1998 to 2000.

Project and operational support

The fonds also consists of project and operational support records for PRMEP from 1997 to 2004. This includes thematic group planning records and country project planning and budget records related to economic sector work (ESW). The records also relate to the development of DEC/PREM Country Performance Ratings and Indicators, later renamed the Country Policy and Institutional Assessments (CPIA), and the subsequent implementation of CPIA in the regions. The Country Performance Ratings and Indicators, and CPIAs are assessment and diagnostic tools used to assess a country's policies, institutional frameworks, and structural issues. They are intended to help inform concessional lending decisions and resource allocation for the Bank's International Development Association (IDA) - eligible countries and aids in the preparation of CASs. The records related to Country Performance Ratings and Indicators, and CPIAs include: PRMEP Sector Board meeting minutes regarding the development of country performance ratings, indicators, and CPIA; memoranda and correspondence primarily sent from the PRMEP Director to the PREM VP, the DEC VP, Bank Managing Directors, DECRG and DECPG staff, Regional VPs and economic staff, and staff from other Bank Networks; reports outlining purposes, procedures, and timetables for country performance ratings, indicators, and CPIA; lists of Country Performance Ratings and Indicators, and CPIA assessments performed for countries between 1997 to 1999; CPIA assessment questionnaires; CPIA Report on the 1998 Ratings; and CPIA Guidelines for Completion.

External partnership and liaison

The fonds also includes records related to PRMEP's partnerships and liaison with external organizations outside of the Bank from 1997 to 1999. The series primarily includes records related to partnerships and liaison with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and others. This includes records related to PRMEP's involvement with the WTO Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance (IF) program launched in October 1997, and the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Seattle, WA in 1999.

Records related to PRMEP's involvement with the IMF include: records related to drafting of joint IMF/Bank Board Papers; participation in joint IMF/Bank liaison Committees; participation in the joint IMF/Bank Enhanced ESAF/IDA Low Income Countries Program; and collaboration on countries affected by the East Asia Financial Crisis of 1997.

PRMTR briefing books for senior officials

The fonds also consists of briefing books prepared for senior officials by staff from the International Trade Department (PRMTR) from 2002 to 2005. The briefing books were prepared for the following senior officials: PREM Vice President Goband Nankani; Managing Director Jeffrey Goldstein; and Bank President James Wolfensohn.The briefings were prepared prior to international trade related conferences, seminars, and meetings, and consist primarily of the following: World Bank produced papers and reports related to international trade; meeting minutes and agenda; invitations to meetings; programs; agendas; itineraries; logistical information; issues to be addressed; and other pertinent information.

Operational monitoring and evaluation

The fonds also consist of records related to operational monitoring and evaluation activities performed by the Operations Evaluation Department (OED) and the Quality Assurance Group (QAG) in their evaluation of economic sector work (ESW) and adjustment operations performed by PRMEP and its collaborative partners for the years 1998 to 2004. This includes records related to the OED annual publication of the Annual Review of Development Effectiveness (ARDE) and the QAG annual publication of the Annual Report on Portfolio Performance (ARPP): both Bank-wide evaluations assessing operational work across Bank operations. The ARDE and ARPP records include drafts and copies of the reports, and memoranda regarding comments on the reports from the PREM VP, PRMEP Director, and other PRMEP staff. Other OED and QAG evaluations more specific to PRMEP and Regions economic sector work (ESW) and adjustment operations are also included, and consist of drafts and copies of reports with extensive comments and review from the PREM VP, PRMEP Director, Regional staff, and Operations Policy and Country Services Vice Presidency (OPCVP) staff. Meeting minutes, agenda, and memoranda are also included regarding the Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) of the Executive Board of Directors, and the Operations Vice Presidents (OVP). CODE and OVP both reviewed OED and QAG evaluation papers and reports, including ARPP and ARDE, and the records detail the review of various papers and reports.

Operational policies and directives review and reform

The fonds also includes records related to operational review and reform activities performed by the Operational Policy Committee (OPC) and the Managing Directors Operations Policy and Strategy Group (MDOPS) from 1997 to 2000. The OPC and MDOPS records relate to the review and reform of numerous Bank-wide operational policies and directives relevant to the areas of financial reform, sector strategies, Country Assistance Strategies (CASs), adjustment lending, and structural policy reform from 1997 to 1999. The records include OPC meeting minutes and agenda; approach papers regarding reform to operational directives (ODs) and operational policies (OPs); and correspondence and memoranda between OPC members, the PREM VP, PRMEP Director, members of DEC, the MDOPS Director, and Bank Managing Directors.

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative records

The fonds also consists of records related to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative launched in 1996. The records were created and maintained by the Debt Initiative Group (AFTD1) from 1996 to 2000 and its later successor the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Unit (PRMHP) from 2000 to 2003. The records include country project files consisting of multilateral debt restructuring agreements for eligible HIPC countries produced from Paris Club meetings; debt data and financial statistical reports produced by multilateral development banks (MDBs), bi-lateral creditors, and the World Bank; and original point, completion point, and Poverty Reduction and Strategy Paper (PRSP) documents relevant to a specific country.

The HIPC records additionally contain extensive briefings prepared by AFTD1 and PRMHP for senior Bank officials, including: President James Wolfensohn; Managing Director Sven Sandstrom; PREM Vice Presidents Masood Ahmed, Kemal Dervis, and Gobind Nankani; Africa Region (AFR) Vice Presidents Jean-Louis Sarbib and Callisto Madavo; and the Latin America and Caribbean (LCR) Vice President David de Ferranti. The briefings were prepared prior to HIPC conferences, seminars, and meetings, and consist of HIPC progress reports,background information on the HIPC Initiative, updates, and agenda. Incoming and outgoing correspondence between the same parties as well as Axel van Trotsenburg of AFTD1 and PRMHP are also included. External correspondence files are also maintained by PRMHP for the World Bank officials mentioned above. These files are primarily sent from participating HIPC Initiative NGOs, MDBs, and bi-lateral creditors, and subsequent responses between the involved parties are maintained by PRMHP. The HIPC records also include handwritten letters sent to President Wolfensohn from individuals from NGO and civil society organizations advocating for the Bank to take more immediate action on eliminating external debt in heavily indebted poor countries.

The HIPC Initiative records relate to the extensive collaboration between the Bank, IMF, MDBs, and NGOs. This includes chairman's summaries and meeting minutes for MDB meetings held jointly by the Banks Executive Directors of the IDA and the IMF. Records are also maintained for MDBs, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence, debt data, and financial statistics regarding the status of numerous HIPC countries. The records also include IMF Executive Board documents regarding the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), the IMF's HIPC Initiative implementation unit. Reports, agenda, press releases, correspondence, and meeting minutes arealso included from numerous workshops, seminars, meetings, and summits held with NGO organizations, such as Oxfam International, Debt Relief International (DRI), and European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD).

Middle Income Countries (MIC) Working Group records

The fonds also includes records related to PRMEP's involvement with the Middle Income Countries (MIC) Working Group from 2003 to 2005. The MIC Working Group sought to bolster support to MIC eligible countries under IBRD lending operations. The Working Group consisted of representatives from the Operations Policy and Country Services Vice Presidency (OPCVP), the Financial Sector Vice Presidency (FSEVP), the Bank Networks, and the Regional VP Offices of the Bank. PREM departments, including PRMEP, played a role in the Working Group. The MIC records include correspondence and memoranda primarily between the PREM VP, PRMEP Director, OPCVP staff, FSEVP staff, and Bank Managing Directors. Meeting minutes and agenda are also included for Working Group meetings, but also for Executive Board of Directors meetings regarding progress and reports on MIC Action Plans. Papers, reports, presentation material, drafted action plans, and Memoranda from the President prepared prior to meetings are also included.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The following arrangement is provisional. Records are arranged into nine series:

  • Country project files

  • Management and organization

  • Project and operational support

  • External partnership and liaison

  • PRMTR briefing books for senior officials

  • Operational monitoring and evaluation

  • Operational policies and directives review and reform

  • Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative records

  • Middle Income Countries (MIC) Working Group records

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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

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Related units of description

  • See Records of the Office of the Chief Economist -- Records of the Office of the Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist and later Senior Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist (DECVP), (WB IBRD/IDA DEC-03) for records related to PRD, IEC, DECRG, and DECPG.

  • See Recordsof the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (WB IBRD/IDA PREM).

  • See Records of the Office of Operations Policy (WB-IBRD/IDA-OP) for additional records related to operations policy review and reform.

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

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Dates of creation revision deletion

18 September 2014




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