World Bank to redouble efforts to fight poverty


Image: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim . By World Bank
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

The World Bank Group Development Committee has wrapped up its annual plenary meetings in Tokyo with a resolve to transform the bank into a ‘solutions bank’ that helps eradicate poverty and boost prosperity.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim called on members to redouble efforts to end absolute poverty.

"We still live in a world that has more than one billion people living in absolute poverty," Dr. Kim said at the closing press conference. "We must all work to make sure that the impressive gains in Latin America, Africa, and Asia over the past generation are not lost now."

“It is time to bend the arc of history. With global solidarity underpinned by a relentless drive for results, we can, we must, and we will build shared prosperity and end poverty,” Dr. Kim said.

Addressing the full membership of the World Bank for the first time as president, Dr. Kim said the Bank will establish a “clear and measurable bottom line” including “ambitious targets” for ending poverty and building shared prosperity, streamlined procedures and processes, and incentives for people working for or on behalf of the Bank who can bring results on the ground.

The plan includes strengthening evidence-based approaches to development by ensuring “virtually all developing countries have timely and accurate data,” said Dr. Kim.
In its communique, the committee called on the Bank to work with other organizations to accelerate efforts to help the African Sahel, where “hunger threatens the lives of 19 million people and the stability of the region.” The response should bring solutions that enable the region to “permanently escape the cycle of emergency aid, and reach a more resilient and sustainable future in the medium term.”

Donors meeting on the sidelines of the annual meetings made pledges to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, launched by the World Bank in 2008 at the request of the G20. The United States pledged to contribute an additional USD1 to the fund for every USD2 contributed by other donors (up to a total US contribution of USD475 million), attracting USD30 million contributions each from Japan and the Republic of Korea, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also indicating it would double its commitment.

The committee noted that World Bank Group must also continue to help countries strengthen conditions for job growth, and asked the World Bank to “contribute actively” to the process of setting global development targets that would take effect after the Millennium Development Goals sunset in 2015. “

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