The World Bank is attempting to move away from its label as a de facto US bank by opening a hub in Singapore.
The Singapore hub will grow to a staff of 70 over the next three years and will be a move for the World Bank towards “pragmatic decentralisation,” according to the bank’s president Robert Zoellick.
This will be the first World Bank office outside of Washington DC to offer products from across the entire group, including the IFC and Miga.
“Developing countries have become a key source of growth and opportunity,” Zoellick said at the signing ceremony to open hub.
“In East Asia, private investments have accomplished a great deal but key restraints remain. We need to unlock private sector interest in infrastructure and bring more investors to the table. We need an integrated approach to support practical solutions for jump-starting the public-private partnership market.
“Our new Singapore hub can help meet those needs.”
Bert Hofman, the World Bank’s chief economist for East Asia, will be the new director of the office.
The World Bank has come under fire in the past for being too US-centric in its leadership and policies; this move will go towards quieting these criticisms.