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Please let the World Bank know that something might be happening in Arab countries

UPDATE: heard from @worldbank, see below

On the Bank web site:

The Development News is a summary of current news collected by the World Bank and published each business day.

The Development News on Friday January 28, 2011 mentions violence or political conflict in the following countries: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Haiti

Number of references to any news happening in any Arab country:


The lead story yesterday:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is shifting his focus away from involvement in international climate change talks and towards new areas in the fight against global warming.

UPDATE 3PM: Just got this, addressed to me from World Bank twitter account:

We’re monitoring #Egypt closely. The story is everywhere. Thx for feedback, watch Dev News for the development angle.

Asked them why Egypt did not already make Development News, waiting for reply.

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  1. ryan a wrote:

    Ha. Ya, just a couple of minor things going on. Way to be on top of things, WB.

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  2. Rebecca wrote:

    This was among one of the busiest week’s I’ve seen as far as conflict news goes from collecting stories for my weekly conflict roundup (, but I’m not surprised they haven’t added it there. Probably waiting it out??

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Rookanooka wrote:

    It’s a little far-fetched for someone like Bill Easterly to claim that the World Bank doesn’t know/care about what’s happening in Egypt because it’s some staff who aggregates news did not add it [for whatever reasons] to its daily news summary.

    Isn’t this post a little too sensational, perhaps?

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  4. nadezhda wrote:

    What, Mr Easterly, do you expect a World Bank twitter feed to say about Egypt that would add to the sum of human knowledge about Egypt today? What could they add in 140 characters? Or even a blurb in Dev News?

    This isn’t a remote conflict about which the world would be dimly aware but for a spotlight on it by the World Bank. Surely they don’t have anything to add beyond what Al Jazeera et al are providing re what’s happening on the scene. I’d assume that most of their in-country staff are just as cut off from communication as the rest of Egypt. And to the extent that the situation on the ground for the Bank’s offices and staff might raise security concerns, that’s the very last thing that should or would be communicated publicly. Even “all’s quiet, everybody’s safe” is potentially risky.

    So something re Egypt and IBRD itself? What loans might be in jeopardy if the regime falls or if it holds on by massacring its citizenry? Oh, that would be a helpful contribution! What assistance they might provide after the dust settles? They don’t even know who will be the GOE by the end of the day.

    We have a big problem in the US that, anything big that happens in the world, we think it’s “all about us.” Methinks you may be falling into the same sort of pattern here.

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  5. Quiksilversurfer wrote:

    Somehow, I think that what is happening in Egypt right now is a lot more momentous than Gbagbo taking over the electricity company or last month news of inter-ethnic conflicts in Nigeria (a regular occurrence from what I have seen over the last few years) or that the government supported candidate to the Presidency of Haiti resigned. What particularly cogent comments about those were made by the WB that these news deserved inclusion and not the one about Egypt?

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  6. Andy wrote:

    Even more surprisingly (ironically?), the African Development Bank’s “Latest News” and “News and Events” sections on their website have mentioned nothing about the uprising that forced Ben Ali from power.

    Do they realize they’re in Tunisia?

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
  7. Manuel wrote:

    Hmm, I have a feeling that some commenters are clearly missing the point. It’s easy to sneer about Twitter, news aggregators, and the like. But when an international institution claims to summarize current news and misses what’s happening in Egypt, well, that sure means something about the institution. Means what? As a non-US citizen I guess this reflects the one-sided US-centered perspective of the WB in front of a very tricky issue for the US government (and commentariat). Maybe, once Obama & Clinton toss a coin to decide what to say, we will read it in Dev News.

    Posted January 30, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink
  8. Frank wrote:

    Wow, not really a relevant or constructive criticism of the wb considering the fact that this is derived from twitter account. It’s twitter, its not the official news headquarters of anyone or anything. Second, there is always something going on in Arab countries involving violence. I’m suprised someone can even get information about others countries out there without putting some tagline like “In Arab countries…It’s almost business as usual” as the news

    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

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