World Bank: Poverty is the Defining Moral Issue of our Time

World Bank President Jim Young Kim spoke at George Washington University last week on the eve of the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings. He discussed the World Bank’s recently released strategy on ending global poverty. Kim particularly noted the importance of working with countries emerging from conflict, affected by conflict, or in a persistent state of fragility as pivotal steps towards developing peace and security worldwide, and highlighted the need for continued investments in girls and women.

Kim announced the two priority goals of the World Bank: to end extreme poverty by 2030, and to boost shared prosperity by promoting real income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population. The strategy to achieving these goals is a cross-sectoral approach, bringing together the Bank; governments; the IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, or MIGA, which provides political risk insurance. The Bank will aim to apply global knowledge to local solutions, and to invest in long-term growth. Part of this investment means investing in girls and women, who are global drivers of development.

The Bank also plans to focus on climate change, bringing together research, best practices and financial support for countries to address cleaner energy solutions. Kim noted that the Bank is on track to complete renewable energy resource mapping in at least ten countries over the next three years. He would also like to see at least 10,000 megawatts of additional capacity installed globally with direct World Bank support in three years.

In closing, Kim called upon the audience to join the Bank in its efforts to end extreme poverty:

Our goals are clear at the World Bank Group. End extreme poverty by 2030.  Boost prosperity and ensure that it is shared with the bottom 40 percent and with future generations. We have an opportunity to bend the arc of history and commit ourselves to do something that other generations have only dreamed of.


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