New World Bank Structure

World Bank buildingOn July 1, 2014, the World Bank launched its new structure with 14 Global Practices (GPs) and 5 Cross-Cutting Solution Area (CCSAs). The Senior Directors responsible for the various GPs and CCSAs are to inform President Jim Kim of the World Bank how they wish to structure their new organizations by early September.

The following Global Practices have been created (along with the Senior Director):

  • Agriculture (Juergen Voegele)
  • Education (Claudia Costin)
  • Energy & Extractives (Anita George)
  • Environment & Natural Resources (Paula Caballero)
  • Finance & Markets (Gloria Grandolini)
  • Governance (Mario Marcel)
  • Health, Nutrition & Population (Timothy Evans)
  • Macroeconomics & Fiscal Management (Marcelo Giugale)
  • Poverty (Ana Revenga)
  • Social Protection & Labor (Arup Banerji)
  • Trade & Competitiveness (Anabel Gonzalez)
  • Transport & Information Technology  (Pierre Guislain)
  • Urban, rural & Social Development (Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez)
  • Water (Junaid Ahmad)

The Cross-Cutting Solution Areas are the following:

  • Climate Change (Rachel Kyte)
  • Fragility, Conflict & Violence (Betty Bigombe)
  • Gender (Caren Grown)
  • Jobs (Nigel Twose)
  • Public-Private Parterships (Laurence Carter)

As a result of the reorganization, many staff members have been “re-mapped” to different GPs, and are now reinventing themselves within a new organizational structure. This affects hierarchical lines, budgets, responsibilities, and project staffing.

Once the unrest of the reorganization settles, hopefully around the end of September, it could be a prime time to rekindle relationships within the new structures. What better way to meet new directors and staff than by meeting them face to face? We strongly suggest that you reach out to World Bank Headquarters or its country offices to find out what opportunities this may open up for your business. We are happy to help you make connections if needed!


The World Bank Board of Directors received a new Procurement Policy on July 23. This important new policy describes how borrowing countries must execute their tender processes. It includes stipulations regarding transparency, publication, economic and environmental sustainability, life-cycle cost, and price-quality considerations.

i-love-procurement2Perhaps the most important element of the new Procurement Policy is the vision, or guiding principle. It states: “Procurement in Bank operations supports clients
to achieve value for money with integrity in delivering sustainable development.”

Value for money

One element the Dutch government has paid much attention to is value for money, which means a number of things. First, it means procured goods, services, and works should be of high quality. The Dutch government believes it does not make economic sense to procure something that is cheaper and of sub-par quality only to replace it quickly. This means quality will get more attention and weight in a bid evaluation than currently is the case.

Second, it means that life-cycle cost will play a more important role in procurement. It is no longer just about the price tag of, say, a million light bulbs, but also about the cost of operating and maintaining those light bulbs over the next 10 years.

This brings us to the point of sustainable development. The World Bank uses a broad definition of the term “sustainable development.” It can refer to economic sustainability, social sustainability, and environmental sustainability. These aspects will be addressed in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD), but the World Bank has decided to leave it up to the borrowing countries to determine the extent of the sustainability criteria within procurement.

Other special topics

The revised procurement policy is designed to be less rigid while incorporating more common sense. In the words of the policy, it is designed to “apply tailored, fit for purpose procurement approaches to any operational circumstance.”

Another topic is that of prior review. To date, the view was that prior review, in which the World Bank needs to submit a “no objection” to approve the selection of a vendor by the borrowing country, should be applied more or less randomly. The new policy chooses to strategically target the “high risk, high value” contracts in order to “avoid diverting valuable staff time into low-value-added activities.”

Going forward, the World Bank will play a more important role in contract management, and will be more involved in engaging suppliers in strategic markets and sectors. This will, for instance, include competitive dialogue to increase vendor participation and overall contract performance.

Lastly, the World Bank is cautiously exploring the issue of a proper complaints mechanism. As a bank, it continues to argue that a contract is between the borrower and its vendor, and that the World Bank is a third party. However, it recognizes that it is, at the least, an interested third party. The bank is therefore exploring ideas to expand its complaints mechanism, for instance, by offering mediation, dispute review boards, or, as the Netherlands advocates, an ombudsman.


With the draft Procurement Policy approved by the Board, the procurement team is authorized to take it to interested governments and companies for consultations. Consultations with the Netherlands will be held in the coming months at a yet-to-be-determined location. Those organizations that have been involved in the past will be invited to provide input during this session.

Additionally, feedback can be provided online The Netherlands embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are closely involved with the Procurement Review.

Handbook ‘Zakendoen met de Wereldbank Groep’

Handbook ‘Zakendoen met de Wereldbank Groep’

The Netherlands embassy in Washington, D.C. recently published a handbook, “Zakendoen met de Wereldbank Groep,” to provide interested Dutch parties a basic introduction to the World Bank.

wb-promo-picture.jpgThe handbook will provide those who are interested in contracting with the World Bank a first impression of how this large organization works. It discusses the differences between consultations and goods and works, and explores the position of the World Bank as a contract party.

One aspect that is not always well understood is the project cycle of the World Bank, and which party is responsible for each phase of the cycle. Here, the role of borrowing countries becomes more important, which the handbook explains in greater detail.

Lastly, the document shows you where you should go to find procurement notices, and where you will find the project pipeline. It finishes with a number of tips and tricks that have been shared with us over the years.

The publication is meant to be dynamic, and will be updated with feedback and new developments regularly. We would like to receive your feedback through The handbook is available in Dutch only.


What is a better topic to address in our first post than the title of the blog: NL for the World Bank? To a large extent, the title is self-explanatory, but the meaning takes on multiple dimensions.

The most important to us is the work that Dutch organizations and individuals do for the World Bank, helping it achieve its twin goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. We strongly believe in the value and quality of these contributions by the Dutch. Therefore, we invite you to join us in emphasizing these contributions by highlighting these efforts on Twitter using #NL4WorldBank.

Another dimension is the financial contribution of the Dutch citizens, through their government, to the World Bank. This contribution enables the World Bank to provide the technical assistance, advice, loans, credits, and gifts to reach the twin goals.

One dimension that is not implied from the title, but will receive attention, is the inverse of the title: the World Bank for the Netherlands. The World Bank provides ample business opportunities for many organizations and individuals in the Netherlands. However, for many the World Bank remains an ill-understood organization that is large, bureaucratic, and at times a bit difficult to navigate. We will help you navigate this organization, provide you with the right information, and put you in touch with key figures in the World Bank.

Who we are? We are the World Bank team at the Dutch embassy in Washington, D.C.

BT Berns - small                               VC Kooijman - small

Bouke Berns                                                                     Vincent Kooijman