Fonds - Records of the Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency


  • 1946 - 2011 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4,667 linear feet of textual records (approximate)

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. 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 history of the Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) is complex primarily because of its previous integration with the Europe and Central Asia Region (ECA). Between 1965 and 1991, the countries within these two regions formed a single regional department/vice presidency called the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Region (EMN or EMENA). Since the termination of EMN and the creation of MNA in 1991, the area covered by MNA countries has remained constant. As of 2016, MNA countries include: Algeria; Bahrain; Djibouti; Egypt; Iran; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; West Bank and Gaza; and Yemen.

1946 - 1952

Upon the Bank's opening in 1946, operational lending was executed by the Loan Department (LOD) led by Charles C. Pineo. The LOD was responsible for developing loan operations policy, receiving and investigating loan inquiries, presenting loan inquiries to Bank management for consideration, 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 and, in particular, European countries. This is evident in the initial divisional organization of the LOD. Of the seven original divisions, four dealt with Europe and two with the Western Hemisphere. Middle Eastern countries were contained in the Asia and Middle East (AME) division.

With the appointment of W. A. Iliff as Director of the Loan Department in 1948, LOD's 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 briefly abolished altogether, as loans were assigned to loan officers on an ad hoc basis. In 1950, LOD was again divided into three geographical areas: Asia and the Middle East Division; Latin America Division; and European Division.

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 also provided staff for Bank missions to countries from the Bank's Washington, DC headquarters 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 threearea divisions 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 that dealt with: Africa and the Middle East; Central America; South America; and Asia. In March 1950 another reorganization divided the Department into an advisory staff and an area staff, the latter consisting of three divisions of which Asia and the Middle East Division was one.

While much of the Bank's initial focus was on reconstruction in Europe, many Middle Eastern countries sought out a relationship with the Bank in its early years. Egypt, Iraq, and Iran were all among the first signers of the Bank's Articles of Agreement in December 1945. The Bank made early survey missions to Egypt (March 1949), Iraq (May 1949), Iran (April 1950), and Syria (October 1950). (A subsequent economic mission to Iraq resulted in the publication of The Economic Development of Iraq in 1952.) Senior management also made trips to Middle Eastern countries early in the Bank's existence, including Vice President Robert L. Garner's 1949 trip that included stops in Iran, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco, and President Eugene Black's 1953 trip to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Ethopia, and Turkey. In October of 1953 Dorsey Stephens was named the Bank's first Middle East Regional Representative. He was stationed in Beirut, Lebanon.

While interest in the region's economic development was evident, actual investment in the region was relatively slow in coming. Iran submitted a loan application to the Bank in October 1946, making it one of the first countries to do so; the proposal was not approved, however. The first loan in the region was to Iraq in 1950 for a flood control project: Wadi Tharthar Flood Control Project [P005231] First loans to Algeria (Electric Power Development Project [P004872]) in 1955, Iran (Seven Year Development Plan Project [P005175]) in 1957, and Egypt (Suez Canal Development Project [P004982]) in 1959 followed. While not a matter of financial investment, Eugene Black's efforts, beginning in 1951, to help mediate the dispute between Iran and Great Britain regarding the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry was a marker of significant interest in the region. Under Black's leadership, the Bank was also involved in negotiations related to the proposed Aswan Dam in Egypt in 1956.

1952 - 1972

When the World Bank opened, its primary focus had been the reconstruction and revitalization of European countries devastated by World War II. However, as other sources of investment became available to war-torn European countries, the Bank quickly shifted its focus to non-European countries. Largely due to the resulting expansion in operations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, a Bank-wide reorganization took effect in September of 1952. The new operational structure endured for the next twenty years. The major feature of the reorganization was the merging of LOD staff with country-related staff from the ECD to form three distinct geographical Area Departments: Europe, Africa and Australasia (EAA); Asia and Middle East (AME); and Western Hemisphere (WHM). These units were 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.

The Asia and Middle East (AME) Area Department was divided into four divisions. The Department was initially led by Joseph Rucinski. He was, soon after, replaced by Francois Didier-Griegh in 1953. Rucinski returned to the post in 1955. All 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 the 1952 reorganization, the sector-oriented staff of the former ECD moved to 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; assisting borrowers in procurement efforts; and monitoring and reporting on member countries' sector economies.

As a result of growing country membership in the AME, the unit was divided into two separate departments in 1957: the South Asia and Middle East Department (SME) and the Far East Department (FEA). Joseph Rucinski led the new SME until January 1962. Following an eight month stint by Geoffrey Wilson, Escott Read was named SME Director in September 1962. As of July 1963, the countries located in SME included: Afghanistan; India; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon, Nepal; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Syria; and United Arab Republic (Egypt). Matters related to the Bank's involvement in the Indus Basin agreement negotiation were also managed out of SME.

In 1962 the Tunisian government requested the establishment of a Bank-sponsored consortium focused on pledging amounts of aid that could be provided by donor members. The Bank and aid-providing country members recommended forming a consultative group as a forum to exchange information on Tunisia's economic development and its capacity to service additional external debt, discuss the potential assistance of donors, and help ensure effective use of foreign aid towards high-priorityprojects. The Tunisia Consultative Group was convened in May 1962.

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 their different circumstances but in most cases the Bank's responsibilities were, as outlined 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 Bank's 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.

In 1965 the World Bank implemented a major reorganization of country groupings in its regional departments and SME was significantly impacted. The countries previously located in SME were dispersed, with South Asian countries constituting a new independent South Asia Department (SAS) and Middle Eastern countries combined with Europe countries to form the new Europe and Middle East Department (EME). In addition, five northern African countries (Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco) were also included in EME. Functional responsibilities of the new EME remained unchanged from predecessor departments. Sydney Cope served as Director of EME.

The new combination of European and Middle Eastern countries was briefly undone in 1967 when EME was divided into two separate departments: Europe Department (EUR); and Middle East and North Africa Department (MNA). Michael L. Lejeune led the MNA during this period. European, Middle Eastern, and North African countries were again reunited during a significant reorganization in 1968, forming the new Europe, Middle East and North Africa Department (EMN). Thus began an uninterrupted period of 23 years during which Middle Eastern and North African countries would be combined with European countries in a single department or Vice Presidency. The new EMN was led by Michael L. Lejeune; he was replaced by Munir P. Benjenk in 1970. The Department was initially divided into five divisions roughly based on geography. European countries roughly made up two divisions while Middle Eastern and North African countries formed the other three.

1972 - 1987

A massive, Bank-wide reorganization was initiated by World Bank President Robert S. McNamara in 1972. As part of the reorganization, the geographic organization of the regional units was again altered. The seven Area Departments were elevated to five Regional Vice Presidencies (RVP). However, the composition of EMN was not altered. 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 functional responsibility between these units and TOD/PRJ was maintained. But in 1972, in an attempt to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sectoral skills, most of the Bank's operational project work was moved from the Projects Department to the five new Regional Vice Presidencies. Staff from the former PRJ was distributed into the Regional Vice Presidencies and organized into sector-oriented Project Departments 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 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, EMN consisted of two Country Program Departments in addition to the new Projects Department. The Country 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, country priorities, 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; assisting the Country Program Departments in loan negotiation and credit agreements; and helping borrowers manage consultants and procurement.

EMN's Project Department was initially divided into five sector-based divisions: Agriculture; Education; Public Utilities; Transportation; and Development Finance Companies. 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 responsibilities were 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.

When EMN became a Vice Presidency in 1972, it contained the following countries: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom and African Dependencies, Yugoslavia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium France, Ireland, Jordan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Turkey, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Greece, Israel, Tunisia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Malta, Oman, Syria, and Yemen Arab Republic. EMN's first Vice President was Munir P. Benjenk. Benjenk served in this position from 1972 through 1980 with the exception of a ten month period between 1975 and 1976 when Willi A. Wapenhans took over. Roger Chaufournier was named EMN Vice President in 1980 and Wapenhans once again assumed the position in 1984.

1987 - 1991

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 sector divisions within the Projects Department), 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 CountryDepartment 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 (SALs) 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, worked 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.

During the 1987 reorganization the number of RVPs decreased from six to four but EMN was not affected in this regard. The number of EMN Country Departments did, however, increase from two to four. The allocation of countries between departments during this period and the sector-oriented divisions comprising the country departments changed over time to reflect changing priorities in the region's operations. EMN was led by Vice President Wilfried P. Thalwitz from 1987 to 1989 and Willi A. Wapenhans from 1990 to 1991.

1991 - 1996

The fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War had significant implications for the World Bank and its organization. As a result of the large number of new country members, a reorganization of the Bank's regional vice presidencies and a reallocation of countries was deemed necessary. In 1991 the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency (EMN) was divided into two new RVPs: the Middle East and North Africa Vice Presidency (MNA) and the Europe and Central AsiaVice Presidency (ECA). (During this reorganization the Asia Regional Vice Presidency [ASI] was also divided into separate east and south Regional Vice Presidencies, increasing the number of RVPs from four to six). The new MNA maintained the same functions and internal organization as its predecessor unit. Note, however, that MNA and ECA continued to share a single Technical Department. Composed of various sector-oriented divisions, the Technical Department maintained responsibility for sector knowledge dissemination, research and development, and operational review and advice.

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.

Caio Koch-Weser became MNA Vice President in 1991. He was replaced by Kermal Davis in 1995.

1996 - 2014

Another reorganization in 1996-98 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. The primary objective of the reorganization was to deepen the country focus and responsivenessto 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 MNA resulted in an increase of two Country Departments to four Country Management Units.

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. From this point on, MNA ceased sharing its technical units with ECA.

Kemal Davis continued to serve as MNA Vice President until May 2000 when Jean-Louis Sarbib assumed the position. He was succeeded by: Christiaan J. Foortman (2003-2006); Daniela Gressani (2006-2009); Shamshad Akhtar (2009-2011); and Inger Andersen (2011-2014).

An important series of World Bank reports discussing economic prospects in the Middle East was introduced in 2005. The series, titled Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Economic Developments and Prospects Reports, was published annually. Its initial release was titled Oil Booms and Revenue Management followed, in 2006, by Financial Markets in a New Age of Oil.

2014 - Present

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 units that cut across GPs horizontallyproviding 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 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; recruits expert GP staff to meet client needs; manages corporate and other stakeholder relationships; and oversees country programs. Each RVP retained multiple Country Management Units (CMUs) responsible for one or more countries. The CMU is the primary interface with the country and is responsible for ensuring global solutions are applied 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.

Hafez Ghanem replaced Inger Andersen as MNA Vice President in November of 2014. Ferid Belhaj replaced Ghanem in May of 2018.

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 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 (RVPs) were established under the general control of the Central Files Unit. At that time, Middle Eastern and North African countries reported to the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (EMN or EMENA) Regional Vice Presidency which meant that operational records of MNA countries were filed alongside those of ECA countries. The EMN RISC was opened in September 1974. 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 eliminated 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 over 20 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" 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 1946-1971 period. 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

This fonds has been provisionally arranged into one sub-fonds and eight series. Sub-headings are used in this "Scope and content" field according to provisional sub-fonds and series. For a complete list of the provisional series, see the "System of Arrangement" field below.

Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMN) operational correspondence (sub-fonds)

Records relating to regional operations in the Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMN) region are contained in this fonds. These operations were active between 1965 and 1991 when the geographical area currently (as of 2017) located in the Middle East and North Africa (MNA) regional Vice Presidency and the Europe and Central Asia regional Vice Presidency (ECA) were combined in the single EMN. Records relate to lending operations and regional and sector studies and consist of the same type of materials described below in the country operational records series. A small amount of records relating to EMN regional policy and procedures are contained as are records relating to EMN's relationship with other multilateral institutions.

Operational records

The majority of the records in this fonds are country operational records. The "operational records" relate to the Bank's operational work overseen by the Middle East and North African (MNA) Vice Presidency and its predecessors. Records relate to investment, structural adjustment, technical assistance, and economic and sector work (ESW) financed, co-financed, and / or managed by the Bank. Note that projects financed or co-financed 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.

The records in this fonds were created by Area Departments (1947-1972), Country Departments (CDs, 1972-1997) and Country Management Units (CMUs, 1997-2011) as well as the Economic Department (1946-1952), Technical Operations Department (TOD, 1952-1965), Projects Department (1965-1972), regional project departments (1972 - 1987), technical departments (1987 - 1997), and sector departments (1997 - 2011). See the "Administrative history" field for a history of these units and their functions. Records specifically relate to operations in countries overseen by the MNA as of 2016. The geographical area covered by MNA has remained constant since 1991 when MNA and the Europe and Central Asia region (ECA) were created out of the former Europe, Middle East, and North Africa region (EMN or EMENA). Records relating to countries in the Middle East and North Africa region created while they reported to EMN between 1968 and 1991 are also included. Note that records of regional projects or programs that span more than a single country are also included in this series.Records relating to all phases of the World Bank Project Cycle, from conception through negotiation and completion, are found in this fonds. 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 and the departments and Vice President front office responsible for review. 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 Bank staff 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, contractors, consultants, etc., including studies, reports, plans, specifications, PIIF documents, etc., are also included.

General country files are also included in the "operational records". 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 studies and 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; and Country Program Papers (CPP) preparation. Records relating to and filed according to the various sectors of investment are also included. In each series, country sector topics 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, 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-specificrecords relating to country program management are also included in the "operational records". 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. Records related to country Task Forces, such as the one undertaken for Gaza and the West Bank in the early 1990s, are also included. Country-specific records relating to country program management may 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.

Also included in this fonds 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 records 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 may include common development sectors (agriculture, transportation, education, etc.) as they relate to specific countries as well as: resettlement; indigenous peoples; participation[AM2]; Global Environment Facility (GEF); World Bank operation policies; country politics; legislation and economic situation; debt; cofinancing, trust funds, and small grants programs; and natural resource management.

Conferences, seminar, and training organization and/or attendance

Fonds includes records related to the conferences, meetings, seminars, and training sessions organized or attended by MNA staff. Records may relate to events planned by various organizational units within the Vice Presidency, including Country Departments. Records may relate to the identification and selection of themes, topics, speakers and / or participants. Fonds may also include: proposals; reports; transcripts; copies of invitations and brochures; administrative arrangements; and course development and training materials.

Records related to MNA staff attendance at the World Bank's Annual and Spring meetings are also included.

External aid coordination and multilateral development assistance

Fonds consists of records relating to the development and implementation of strategies for cofinancing and other instances of development coordination with bilateral and multilateral organizations. Records relate to cooperative relationships between the Bank Group and donors, cofinanciers, development agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multilateral and bilateral organizations (government agencies, United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], etc.), and other partner organizations. Specifically, records may relate to: collaborative development assistance; Bank-sponsored seminars and conferences; and external funding for consultants. In addition to correspondence, records may include: copies of agreements and other legal documents; initiating briefs; reports and memoranda concerning disbursement of cofinanced funds; periodic reports to cofinanciers; trust fund audits; and other related materials.

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 Tunisia (1962), Morocco (1967), Egypt (1977), Jordan (1993), Lebanon (1993), West Bank and Gaza Strip (1994), and Yemen (1997). The early consultative groups typically met bi-annually for several successive years or for longer than a decade, with Bank staff leading smaller sector or local consultative meetings in between the bi-annual donor group meetings. Files contain a large body of correspondence between the country department staff, the chairman who was typically the Area or Country Director but on occasion was the Regional Vice President, and donor members of the consultative 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 Tunisia and Morocco 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 by Secretary'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 chaired by the department, as well as consultative meetings or roundtables chaired by other organizations outside of the Bank including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in which the Bank participated.

VP Subject files

Fonds contains the subject and informational records of Middle East and North Africa (MNA) Vice Presidents including Caio Koch-Weser. Records include those collected or produced relating to committees, task forces, and working groups of which the VP participated in, or contributed to, as well as conferences the VP or the VP's Front Office attended. Country files maintained by the VP (including back-to-office reports) may be included as well as reference material on a variety of topics. Records include correspondence and internal memoranda as well as country and thematic briefs and meeting materials. A small amount of speeches made by the MNA Vice President may also be included.

VP Correspondence

Fonds includes the chronological correspondence files of a number of MNA Vice Presidents, including: Caio Koch-Weser; Kermal Davis, and Jean-Louis Sarbib.

Departmental Communications and Support

Fonds also consists of briefing books prepared for senior World Bankofficials in preparation for visits to Middle Eastern and North African countries as well as for participation in meetings, seminars, and speeches. Briefing books were created by MNA units including VP front office staff and were prepared for MNA senior officials as well as for other senior Bank staff including World Bank presidents and Executive Directors. Briefing 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 forms part of the briefing books.

Business plan and budget management records

Fonds includes records relating to the business plan and budget management activities (i.e. planning, implementation, monitoring, and review) of the Region. Records may originate in the VP's Front Office or in the VP's country orsector departments. Records may include: annual budget files created by the Region's budget and administrative units; 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.

Management and oversight of unit functions

Records relating to the management and oversight of the Region's country and technical departments' functionalresponsibilities 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; field office management; VP-wide coordination and direction; departmental reviews; management retreats; regional objectives and operational directives; staff surveys; and staffing. Records may include: work program agreements; monthly reports and operational summaries; research program materials; various task force records including some final reports; unit reviews; management team meeting records; World Bank procedures and guidelines; and general correspondence including those disseminated from the MNAVP to VP staff.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The following arrangement is provisional. Records are arranged in one sub-fonds and eight series:


  • Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMN) regional operations


  • Operational records

  • Conferences, seminar, and training organization and/or attendance

  • External aid coordination and multilateral development assistance

  • VP Subject files

  • VP Correspondence

  • Departmental Communications and Support

  • Business plan and budget management records

  • 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
  • Arabic

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

While an inventory list for the records of this fonds does not exist, researchers interested in operational projects (loans, credits, grants and trust funds) executed by MNA are encouraged to visit the Projects and Operations Database on-line. Lists of archival records for many of the Bank's projects can be found there alongside final reports and contextual information specific to each project. The database search can be narrowed to include only those projects related toMNA or specific MNA countries. 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 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.

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

  • See records of World Bank staff employed by the Middle East and North Africa Vice Presidency or the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Vice Presidency: Ian Johnson (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-13); Vinod Dubey (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-14); Masood Ahmed (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-19); and Attila Karaosmanoglu (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-23).

  • See Records of External Affairs - Documentation of institutional meetings, press conferences, and other events ("WB IBRD/IDA EXT-12:" for sound recordings of consultative groups including Morocco.

  • For records of the Economic Committee, which contain draft versions of early country economic reports and country program papers (CPPs) and comments on those papers by the committee, see Records of the (Staff) Economic Committee (WB_IBRD/IDA_118).

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

  • For oral histories of past Middle East and North Africa (MNA) or Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (EMN) Vice Presidents, visit the World Bank Group Archives Oral History website and see the following interviews: Sydney Cope; Michael Lejeune; Roger Chaufournier; Wilfried Thalwitz; Willi Wapenhans; Munir P. Benjenk; and Caio Koch-Weser. Also, browse by country and view transcripts of interviews in which specific countries are discussed. Also see Records of the Office of the Historian - Records of the World Bank History Project - Interviews (WB IBRD/IDA HIST-01-10) for interviews with Munir P. Benjenk and Willi Wapenhans.

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Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

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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

18 April 2017




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