In an earlier blog entry we published the new organizational structure of the World Bank after the change process, explaining the new Global Practices (GPs) and Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs). But more than the organizational structure the change process also impacted both the role of WB country offices vis-à-vis Headquarters, as well as the role of the different World Bank Units. To further illustrate the roles of the different organizational units, recall the figure below.
These GPs are envisioned to be vertical pillars of technical expertise on their respective subject. They provide the global technical expertise to deliver solutions to clients. The GPs will have four broad tasks, being (1) to define the strategic direction and the World Banks activity in their respective sector, (2) develop and deploy expertise globally, (3) deliver integrated solutions to client countries and (4) capture and leverage knowledge in their respective fields. Thus, they are theme based departments, responsible in their area for bringing the available knowledge to the client countries.
The 5 Cross Cutting Solution Areas, on the other hand, are units focusing more on World Bank Group-wide strategic goals and directions. Additionally, they are the World Bank Group’s global voice and should build global leadership for the World Bank. They develop targets, monitor results and build global leadership in the World Bank selected development areas. As was explained in our earlier blog, the CCSA Core Team is responsible for the daily operation of their CCSA, while relying heavily on the expertise of advising units, such as the Advisors, CCSA Leads, Experts and Affiliates.
Local offices will have an enhanced focus on the client countries and their needs, as other tasks are transferred to the GPs. Staff members at the regional or country offices will now be working under a GP manager. For example, before the reorganization, an energy expert in Nairobi, Kenya, was under direct responsibility of the Country Director Kenya. In the new structure of the World Bank, however, the energy expert will be under the supervision of the Senior Director of the GP Energy. This way, the energy expert is more integrated in the global energy team, thereby profiting from new insights and best practices, while also being able to give more independent advice on the project to the Country Director.
What does it mean for you?
As described above World Bank operations remain an interesting interplay between the World Bank HQ, World Bank country offices and, obviously, the borrowing countries that hold the eventual ownership of projects. If you are interested in knowledge sharing and sparring over strategic developmental issues with the World Bank, HQ remains an interesting institution to contact. The GPs and a lot of their staff will be located at the HQ so when you want to show your innovative product, share your knowledge or talk about World Bank strategy related to a sector, a visit to DC could be useful. Additionally, for companies focusing on consultancy-related services and corporate procurement, the GPs will also be an interesting point of contact.
However, due to the project-focus and heavy project-involvement of regional and country offices, it is essential for organizations to keep in touch with regional offices too. Especially companies interested in working with the World Bank further ‘downstream’, providing goods and services directly procured by the borrowing countries, it is important to ‘go local’ and keep close contacts at the World Bank regional offices and borrowing country governments. Eventually, projects are procured by borrowing countries in cooperation with World Bank country offices and therefore World Bank HQ is only remotely connected to actual project execution. Regional and country offices will have more specific knowledge about upcoming projects, tender notifications, and applicable (procurement) procedures.