After the World Bank spring meetings wrapped up over the weekend in Washington, D.C., the international development community is busy going over what was discussed, what was accomplished and — maybe even more importantly — what remains to be done to meet the institution’s overall goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.
That means reducing the number of people earning less than $1.25 a day by 50 million each year, or around 1 million people every week, for the next 16 years.
During one of the several panel discussions he attended, World Bank President Jim Kim stressed the goal can be attained within that deadline, but only if economic growth is inclusive and sustainable — and even that’s not enough.
“If all countries grow at the same rates as over the past 20 years, and if the income distribution remains unchanged, world poverty will only fall by 10 percent by 2030,” Kim said during one of the several panel discussions he attended. “[We need] laser-like focus on making growth more inclusive and targeting more programs to assist the poor directly if we’re going to end extreme poverty.”
The ONE Campaign, while noting that the objective is indeed ambitious, highlighted that it can be met if rising inequality doesn’t dampen the fruits of economic growth, and if bank management is able to overcome the uncertainty over the president’s reform agenda to improve efficiency and make the World Bank more responsive to the needs of the poor people it wants to lift out of poverty.
Kim has mentioned instruments that promote inclusive growth like conditional cash transfer programs, improving education, expanding health coverage and boosting sustainable energy, to not only help the poor, but also “prevent those living on the brink from falling below the $1.25 line.”
Are these actions enough? What other ways can the World Bank harness its power as the world’s top donor to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030? Will the president’s reforms overcome internal resistance and gain enough traction to truly turn the institution into what Kim wants it to be? Please let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, joining our LinkedIn discussion or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the most comprehensive coverage of the World Bank’s spring meetings, check out daily updates via Storify, and be sure to follow Devex on Twitter and Facebook. You may tweet questions and comments to our reporters Paul Stephens @pauldstephens, Michael Igoe @twigoe, Rolf Rosenkranz @devexrolf and Adva Saldinger @deveximpact.