4 main challenges for the World Bank

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has been on the job just 13 days, but he’s already been inspired to update not just the bank’s approach to development, but its fashion as well. He’s having the slogan that appears on its wall — Our dream is a world without poverty — put onto neckties.

Kim did not announce plans to mandate the bank’s more than 10,000 employees to sport his creation, but did say he would like to see greater integration among the five World Bank agencies.

There is “intense desire to integrate across the institution,” Kim said in remarks delivered July 18 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Kim said the bank was at its best when people were collaborating, and that being able to come together as a group with a wide array of assistance to offer made the bank enormously relevant.

The bank’s collective experience and knowledge about what works on the ground was a huge asset, but one that had not been adequately captured and systematized for everyone, Kim said. He stated the bank needed to do more to measure the impact of its knowledge work, and harped on the importance of evidence-based development.

The bank had accumulated so much data some of it was stored on onionskin paper in a Pennsylvania warehouse, Kim said. Now that information is being made available to everyone.

“We will work tirelessly, we will continue to learn about what works and what does not, and carry out bold reforms when they are needed,” Kim said. Ultimately, the bank would be judged by results, not by intentions, he said.

Four main challenges were dominant in Kim’s opinion:

  • Protecting development gains against global economic risks.

  • Broadening development to countries left out due to fragility or conflict.

  • Ensuring growth is sustainable.

  • Demanding growth to be inclusive.

The bank under Kim will likely continue its transition from a government lender to a more active development player — partnering with civil society and trying to learn lessons from rich and poor countries. Kim said the fact that more than 1 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day remains “a stain on our collective conscience.”

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About the author

  • Jennnews21

    Jennifer Brookland

    Jennifer Brookland is a Devex global development reporter based in Washington, DC. She has worked as a humanitarian reporter for the United Nations and as an investigative journalist for News21. Jennifer holds a bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University and in international law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School. She also served for four years as an Air Force officer.