Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 8: The World Bank and China: the long decade of realignment
This chapter examines the ways in which China’s global rise is influencing changes in the World Bank Group, the global institution that is dedicated to providing financial and technical assistance to more than 100 developing countries around the world. The main findings are that China’s dramatic three-decade transformation into the second largest economy in the world; the environmental and financial ‘externalities’ related to China’s own growth; China’s financial rise as the leading creditor nation over the last decade; and its strong economic performance through the 2008–2009 global financial crisis (GFC), have provided the structural impetus for changes in the World Bank’s relationship with China, and its China country programming. At the same time, the Bank has continued to lend to China. The changes have unfolded largely along three dimensions, and gradually, over more than a decade, starting in the late 1990s. First, measures were taken to increase China’s ‘voice’ in the global institution. In 1997, and then again in 2007, 2008, and 2012, the Bank appointed Chinese nationals to the senior management at the Bank. More recently, the Bank’s shareholders have supported an increase in China’s voting percentage in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the core organization within the World Bank Group.
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