The indelible footmarks of the World Bank in the higher education of the developing world: The case of Ethiopia

2014 IJRSE – Volume 3 Issue 3


Woldegiyorgis, Ayenachew Aseffa*
University of Tampere, Finland (


The World Bank, as an international policy transfer agent, has had a tremendous impact on the direction of higher education development in developing countries. It plays a significant role by mobilizing resources, generating knowledge and providing leadership. The Bank has also been a subject of serious criticisms for the approach it followed pursuing its development goals in borrowing countries. This paper explores the methods of influence used by the Bank and specifically focuses on how the World Bank has impacted the higher education system of Ethiopia. It discusses some of the criticisms against the Bank and argues that, considering the lack of institutional capacity and prevalence of corruption in Ethiopia, the Bank is, in a way, justified in its insistence on strict requirements. The paper also points out that the World Bank is in a better position to bridge stakeholders and resolve the paucity of consultation and consensus, which is a major drawback in the Ethiopian higher education reform process.

Keywords: higher education reform; methods of influence; policy transfer; disinvestment; intergovernmental organizations



*Corresponding Author