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Reducing World Poverty Deserves a Serious Strategy

Posted December 5, 2012 4:16 PM by Angie Mareino

When Dr. Jim Kim was appointed as head of the World Bank in the summer of 2012 (only its 12th president in its almost 70-year history), he wanted to refocus the organization to its core mission: Help Reduce World Poverty

But what would that mean to the Latin American and Caribbean Region (LAC), one of the World Bank’s six main regions? In LAC, there certainly are some countries with extreme poverty, like Haiti and Honduras, but there are also many countries that are middle income or better, like Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

How would the mission to reduce poverty translate in these counties?

For the Latin America and Caribbean Region, the World Bank first had to agree to add “Increase Prosperity” to their focus. Countries typically do not strive to just be above the poverty line; they want to grow a healthy and productive middle class.


In 2012, the Latin American Region implemented the Balanced Scorecard to visualize its contribution to the overall mission of the World Bank. Not only have they helped to bring millions out of poverty, but they have also used innovative approaches to strengthen governance and improve resilience throughout the region. The use of new financial products along with advisory and convening services have made this region an innovation hub of the World Bank. Advances in areas of procurement reform and conditional cash transfers, among other things, now guides how the World Bank adopts these policies globally.

Getting a room of Ph.D. economists to agree on single measures of development effectiveness is not easy.

The Balanced Scorecard helps to create alignment across the various countries as well as allow for flexibility in defining and achieving development strategies in different regions. What works in the Caribbean may not work in Chile; the BSC framework provides for flexibility. At the same time, the Latin America and Caribbean Region as a whole at the World Bank needs to be able to respond with one voice to present its collective effectiveness. Across the LAC region, the strategy map has become the common language. 


Get the inside scoop on the World Bank’s approach to strategy at the Mission-Driven Management Summit in March 2013. Learn from Pedro Alba, the director of strategy and operations for the World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Region, who will discuss how it all works. As you might expect, getting a room of Ph.D. economists to agree on single measures of development effectiveness is no small task.

Linking activities to impact is also difficult, especially as global financial crises influence the economic development of the region. Yet the Latin American Region has been pushing hard for alignment, and the common language of the Balanced Scorecard has allowed for candid discussions about key challenges in the region. 


Register for the Summit today for unbeatable rates ($200 in savings) and discover how the World Bank has overcome many challenges of implementing the Balanced Scorecard. You will see how you can apply their techniques to your organization, so you too can stay true to your core mission.

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