World Bank chief prioritises tackling global growth risks

Washington – On his first day as president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim stressed the role of the 188-member organisation in helping address global growth risks and providing development assistance.

The World Bank has an economic and moral imperative to help address risks to global growth, no matter where they emerge. A strong global economy benefits all countries, and a weak one makes all countries vulnerable, Kim said in a statement released on Monday.

“The global economy remains highly vulnerable. We need to boost confidence in markets and within the private sector. And we need to boost confidence among citizens that our economic system and policies can deliver more sustainable, fair and inclusive economic growth,” said the former president of the US Dartmouth College.

“My immediate priority will be to intensify the World Bank’s efforts to help developing countries maintain progress against poverty in these volatile times,” he stressed.

The Washington-based global organisation recently lowered its economic growth forecast for 2012 to 5.3% for developing countries, saying that those countries’ budgets and central banks were not as well placed as they were in 2008 and 2009 to address slowing economies.

It is urgent that European countries take all necessary measures to restore stability because their actions will impact growth in all regions of the world, Kim added.

The Korean-American public health expert highlighted the importance of working with World Bank clients and partners to create a new economic firewall – one that protects people in developing countries against shocks.

“The World Bank substantially increased its lending during and after the global financial crisis. We must continue to build more effective and sustainable ways to ensure citizens have basic income protection, and access to education, health care and energy,” he said.

The World Bank committed $52.6 billion to help promote economic growth and overcome poverty in developing countries during its fiscal year 2012 that ended on June 30.

During a media roundtable meeting held on Monday, Kim said he aimed at building the 188-member World Bank into a client-oriented agency and providing technical and other assistance to member countries, in a bid to boost prosperity and eradicate poverty.

The World Bank is the most important development institution and a great “academic institution” with more data than any other organisation about development, he told a group of reporters.

Kim on Sunday succeeded Robert Zoellick to lead the global development organisation. The Korean-born physician takes the presidency of the Bank against a backdrop of simmering Eurozone debt crisis.

Kim exuded confidence in a bigger role of the Bank on the global stage, stating: “I believe the World Bank’s best days are still ahead.”

The economic success of emerging market economies and the unprecedented penetration of new technologies are challenging old development paradigms. Strengthening the World Bank’s leadership as the premier development institution will mean continuing to adapt to a world that is changing profoundly, the new president observed.

Source: SAnews – Press Release – 3 July 2012