WB President Calls for a world free of poverty

Dr Jim Yong Kim

Dr Jim Yong Kim

Accra, April 4, GNA – Dr Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President, has called for new ambitious goals and a bold agenda to guide the global community towards ending extreme poverty by 2030.

 ‘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.

 ‘Our duty now must be to ensure that these favourable circumstances are matched with deliberate decisions to realize this historic opportunity,’ Dr Kim said in a statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday.

Dr Kim said 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 occurs.  

To achieve the more difficult goal of virtually eliminating extreme poverty, Dr Kim mentioned three factors which he said were necessary: 

First, he said, to reach the goal by 2030 would 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.

Secondly, it would require efforts to enhance inclusiveness and curb inequality, and ensure that growth translated into poverty reduction through job creation.

And thirdly, it would require that potential shocks such as food, fuel, or financial crises and climatic disasters be averted or mitigated.

Noting that many global leaders, over many decades, had spoken about ending poverty, Dr Kim said to realize the vision would take a commitment from the entire global development community that matched the scope of the challenge and 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. The calls demand action, said Dr Kim.

Dr Kim said the date of 2030 was 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”.

The WB Group President asserted that to meet global challenges, fighting extreme poverty alone was 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’.

Speaking in advance of the upcoming WB/International Monitoring Funds (IMF) Spring Meetings, Dr Kim said developing economies rebounded quickly from the crisis and were now in a fundamentally sound position.

 ‘Thanks to greater macroeconomic stability, a stronger rule of law, and increased investments in human capital and infrastructure…’ he stated.