By Gab Omoh & Emma Ujah, Washington
The President of the World Bank, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, has announced sweeping changes to make the institution more alive to its goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030, as well as boosting prosperity among the poor who constitute 40 per cent of the population in developing nations.
In his address, yesterday, at the plenary of the on-going 2013 annual meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in Washington, he announced $400 m cut in the bank’s administration budget in the next three years.
The savings would directly benefit clients, as the organization will work to reinvest these resources toward new financing.
Kim said that for too long, the organization had not followed its own advice and had avoided tough choices.
“That is changing. We are taking our own medicine. We will show much more financial discipline than we have in the past in order to become more efficient and identify new ways to reduce spending. Just as we tell finance ministers, we also need to plan for the longer term, shoring up our revenue base, seeking ways to save, and building a stronger foundation for years to come”, he said.
“We can’t revert to business as usual. When I started my tenure at the World Bank Group some 16 months ago, I discovered a staff with a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience. I also found a staff frustrated with the institution. Many wanted their work to have greater impact. They chafed at a bureaucracy that had turned our six regional units into silos, with each one reluctant to share its technical expertise with the others”.
The World Bank boss noted that in addition to savings, the Bank Group needed to reform the way it designs its budget, to align budgets with strategy, to selectively invest in the future, and to aggressively explore new ways to grow revenue to better serve member countries
“If we have high aspirations for the poor, if our work is to be aligned with our goals, we must be as efficient and focused as possible,” he said.
Ending extreme poverty
Kim said that he was determined to end extreme poverty by 2030 which he considered one of the most important goals of his administration,adding that a recent report of the World Bank has shown that children formed one third of those in extreme poverty worldwide.
His words, “for all the people living in extreme poverty, 400 million are children. What more motivation do we need to accelerate progress toward the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030? How can we in good conscience not do all we can to lift 400 million children, their families, and hundreds of millions of others out of poverty and into a life of opportunity?”
The bank’s new interim goal is cutting extreme poverty roughly in half by 2020, from its rate of 18 percent in 2010 to 9 percent in 2020, on which Kim said, “If we are going to be on the path of reaching 3 percent of population living in extreme poverty by 2030, we must get to 9 percent by 2020.”