World Bank President calls for poverty-free world
WASHINGTON: Calling for ambitious new goals to help the most
vulnerable, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim outlined a bold
agenda for the global community towards ending extreme poverty by 2030
and promoting shared prosperity to boost the incomes of the poorest 40
percent of the population in each country.
"We are at an auspicious moment in history when the successes of past
decades and an increasingly favourable economic outlook combine to give
developing countries a chance, for the first time ever, to end extreme
poverty within a generation," Kim said in a speech at Georgetown
"Our duty now must be to ensure that these favourable circumstances
are matched with deliberate decisions to realise this historic
opportunity," he said.
Speaking in advance of the forthcoming World Bank and IMF Spring
Meetings, Kim said that developing economies rebounded quickly from the
crisis and are now in a fundamentally sound position, thanks to greater
macroeconomic stability, a stronger rule of law, and increased
investments in human capital and infrastructure.
Productivity growth in the private sector, the source of 90 percent
of all jobs, is high.
Kim said that the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), to halve
extreme poverty, was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of time, after
developing countries spent years investing in social safety nets and
working hard to build the fiscal space and create the macroeconomic
buffers to respond effectively if a crisis hits.
To achieve the more difficult goal of virtually eliminating extreme
poverty, Kim described three factors necessary: First, to reach the goal
by 2030 will require an acceleration of the growth rate observed over
the past 15 years, and in particular sustained high growth in South Asia
and Sub-Saharan Africa. Second, it will require efforts to enhance
inclusiveness and curb inequality, and ensure that growth translates
into poverty reduction, most importantly through job creation. And
third, it will require that potential shocks, such as new food, fuel, or
financial crises and climatic disasters, be averted or mitigated.
Noting that many global leaders, over many decades, have spoken about
ending poverty, Kim recognised that to realise this vision will take a
commitment from the entire global development community that matches the
scope of the challenge, and he hailed recent calls from global leaders
to take action.
"Recently a number of courageous politicians have committed to ending
poverty in their countries, including Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Joyce
Banda in Malawi. Similarly, US President Barack Obama and UK Prime
Minister David Cameron endorsed the vision of ending extreme poverty
globally. These bold calls demand action," said Kim.
Kim said that 2030 is highly ambitious. "To reach the 2030 goal, we
must halve poverty once, then halve it again, and then nearly halve it a
third time, all in less than one generation."
Kim said that to meet global challenges, fighting extreme poverty
alone is not enough. "We must collectively work to help all vulnerable
people everywhere lift themselves well above the poverty line. At the
World Bank Group we call this boosting shared prosperity."Though the
World Bank Group's efforts are especially focused on the countries with
the fewest resources, Kim said that the Bank Group's work is not just in
poor countries, and he called for the Bank and its partners to work
toward the second goal of boosting the incomes of the poorest 40 percent
of the population in each country.
"Our work is in any country where there are poor people, or where
people face economic exclusion. This goal will ensure we address the
priorities of equity and inclusion more systematically in all of our
strategic decision-making," said Kim.