“The fact that more than a billion people live on less than a $1.25 a day in 2013 is a stain on our moral conscience. We must help lift people out of poverty without delay, without prejudice, no matter the circumstance, no matter the locale.” -World Bank President Jim Kim, Oct. 1, 2013
As the largest global multilateral development organization, the World Bank Group (WBG) is and will remain central to global efforts to eliminate extreme poverty. Where the Bank goes, others often follow. As such, its annual meetings are crucial in determining global trends in fighting poverty and supporting development.
This year’s meeting, taking place next week in Washington D.C., will be particularly important because the Bank is undergoing its first major restructuring in a decade.
World Bank President Jim Kim took the opportunity to give an overview of this restructuring this week to explain the vision for the World Bank’s future. Speaking at George Washington University, President Kim spoke of the two newly defined goals of the WBG: 1) End extreme poverty by 2030 and 2) Boost shared prosperity by promoting real income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population.
To achieve this, President Kim highlighted that the Bank will require a new approach:
Gone will be investments in projects where the World Bank doesn’t bring added value. Gone will be financial volume targets. Gone will be the “silo mentality” that had started to develop within parts of the group.
In will come greater partnerships – especially with the private sector to use their expertise and capital to fight poverty and create jobs for the poorest. In will come greater support for fragile and conflict-affected states. In will come bolder vision and leadership on issues of global significance such as the inclusion of women and addressing climate change.
It’s important to note that the World Bank Group’s financial aid – while a crucial part to alleviating extreme poverty – is only one component in global efforts to tackle the issue. The WBG will increasingly focus on providing technical assistance to countries and groups trying to reduce poverty and share prosperity.
This restructuring will go a long way in making the World Bank Group a more effective institution, but as President Kim himself recognized; it will not be enough. We need more than the group improving; we need everyone to do more.
Speaking about the work of ONE and other groups, President Kim said we need a social movement that demands action to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. Only with that sort of pressure will governments and groups work hard enough to achieve this goal.
We can eliminate extreme poverty. We have halved it in the last 20 years. However we need to keep up this pressure if we are to eliminate the crisis by 2030. And for that we need your support!