A severe pandemic would harm health, economies, and communities in all countries, but especially in poor and fragile states. Pandemic prevention requires robust public health systems (veterinary and human) that collaborate to stop contagion promptly.
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MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Thank you for coming to the closing press conference of the 2014 World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting. We’ll have comments from all three principles, starting out w... Show More +ith Chairman Belka.CHAIRMAN BELKA: Thank you. Welcome to the press briefing on the just-concluded Development Committee meeting. The focus of the meeting was shared prosperity, the idea that the poorest 40 percent of people in developing and developed countries can share in the gains from global economic growth. While significant progress has been made in extending shared prosperity over the last two decades of strong economic growth, this progress has not taken place everywhere for all people, and about 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty.The discussion took place in the context of concern about the slowing and uneven pace of global economic growth and its impact on the poor, especially unemployment, as well as implications for economic, social, and environmental sustainability. We also discussed among other things the Ebola crisis, which I single out for obvious reasons. We welcomed the World Bank’s and IMF’s rapid response to the crisis, and we supported additional measures from the international community to prevent its spread and protect countries in the medium and long term.You can read the meeting communique for more detail on the conclusions of our discussions. The papers that were distributed for our meeting are publicly available on the Bank and Fund Websites. So let me just turn to Jim and Christine to elaborate on our meetings today.DR. KIM: Yes, we had a very good discussion during the Development Committee meeting, first on energy during the lunch period and also then on the problem of global inequality. But on the meeting as a whole, there are three major highlights that I wanted to touch upon. First, we had a signing ceremony and now the Global Infrastructure Facility of the World Bank is now a reality. Companies and countries have committed to building this platform in which we would bring the expertise of not only the World Bank, but the IMF and other multilateral development banks, to prepare projects and bridge the gap in what is a market failure. There’s trillions of dollars on the sideline waiting and looking for a good return. There are many, many very bankable infrastructure projects that for lack of project preparation, for lack of identification, are not attracting the kind of capital that they deserve. This new platform, in collaboration with the Australian G-20 leadership’s efforts on an information center for global infrastructure, we think could begin to bridge the divide.The second issue I want to talk about is climate change. At the U.N. General Assembly now I think two weeks ago we presented a statement on carbon pricing. While we had relatively low expectations when we first started on this idea, it ended up that 74 countries, 11 regions, and more than 1,000 companies signed onto this agreement saying that we should set a price on carbon. We were very excited to host here in Washington, D.C., the first meeting of that group that signed on to the statement. Companies were represented, sovereign wealth funds, the countries that had signed on, including China, which has made very strong commitments to finding a price on carbon for the world. We take very strongly our responsibility in the area of global public goods like fighting climate change, and we’ll continue to do this work.On Ebola, the meeting that we had, the early morning meeting, we had on Thursday was extremely productive. The heads of state made very concrete statements. They told us exactly what they needed, and we were very encouraged to see that many organizations stepped up. I especially want to thank Christine Lagarde. Not only did she make $130 million quickly available, in the bank accounts of these countries, but she stated that taking on debt at this point was fine for these countries, creating fiscal space, that they were frankly jubilant to receive. And in addition to the efforts of the African Development Bank and the U.N. system, we’re beginning to make some progress. But I want to stress, again, one of the things that Tom Frieden, the head of the United States Centers for Disease Control, stated was that we’re still behind. It’s worse now than it was 10 days ago and that this is the worst epidemic he’s seen since HIV. As an HIV physician and someone who fought that epidemic, I have to say that in many ways it could be worse. And so, the point that we kept stressing is that the humanitarian response, the public health response, and the response that can blunt the economic impact are all the same. We have to get very high quality treatment and prevention services in those three countries immediately. We've already seen the impact. In Mr. Duncan's case here, in the United States, he died unfortunately and people were exposed. In Spain, we've already seen the very first Ebola infections ever outside of Africa. The economic impact is already being felt in Spain, with the hits on the stock value of some travel companies. Now we hope that this will be under control quickly, but it gives you some sense of how complicated it is, to mount an effective and adequate response. So we once again call on all of the countries who are watching, if you have any sense that you want to help with this epidemic, do it today. Do it now. Every day that we wait, the ultimate response is going to get more expensive. And we have no choice. We have to get this under control. This is not something that we can look away from, because right now, without effective services in place, on the ground, in these three countries, the rational, logical thing to do if you think you might have been in contact with someone with Ebola, is to get out of your country. And so what we need to do is to change the incentive so that such good services are being offered in those three countries, that people want to stay. We will continue to work on this. We also suggest that what we need now is a tool going into the future. We need some source of funding that will disperse immediately on the occasion of the next epidemic and the global community needs to come together to decide what the response will be. We know we can do it. We know we can build that instrument. And working together with the IMF and the other multi-lateral development banks and the U.N., we think that we can learn from this experience and not let it happen again. Thank you.MS. LAGARDE: Thank you very much Chairman. Good afternoon to all of you. It's not tit for tat, but if I may, I would like to commend Jim Kim for the terrific leadership that on behalf of the World Bank he has expanded and demonstrated tirelessly on Ebola. I will second everything that he has said. I will just slightly qualify a point that he has made. It is true that much to their surprise, I said that for once, the IMF is saying that it is okay to increase the deficit, because I think it's okay to increase the deficit, but hopefully, hopefully, it's not necessarily going to induce an increase in debt, because what those countries are going to need is grants and financial support from the international community. So we are both on the same page with the same sense of urgency. And we will certainly continue to try to help as much as we can these three countries. Equally, if I may say, it's not for me to tell you what your job is about. But I think we should be very careful not to terrify the planet in respect of the whole of Africa. Those three countries are severely hit. We are going to try to give as much support as we can. The big urgency is to stop it. Contain it. But it's not the whole of Africa. And business has to continue. The economies of all the other countries have to keep on working and creating jobs and so on and so forth. So we have to be attentive to it. We are attentive to it. But I think if you can communicate that as well, it would be terrific. Now just two other points that I would like to mention briefly. One is, just to show you this, which is a publication that is released today that brings together all the work that we've done on low income countries, to really assess the current situation. It's a bright spot on the world stage. The average growth of the low income and developing countries is more than six percent, compared with other areas, it's a lot. And clearly there is much work that can be done to help them sustain that growth and continue to develop. And we've tried to capture that, studying 60 different countries. Third point, as you may know, since the financial crisis, we have been lending at zero interest rate, out of the poverty and reduction and growth trust fund that we have, and we have been called by the IMFC earlier today, to actually extend that zero interest rate for another two years. And I hope that the board of the IMF will be considering that favorably. I'm certainly going to schedule that board meeting very expeditiously. Thank you.MODERATOR: Thank you. We will now take your questions. Please identify yourself and your affiliation. In front.QUESTION: Madame Lagarde, with regard to containment, is there any plan to put more funds on the table, particularly for countries that are not directly affected but may be affected? I have in mind Senegal and Nigeria. Dr. Kim, with the pandemic response unit, is that strictly a funding operation, or will it have other functions that might conflict with what the World Health Organization does? Thank you.MS. LAGARDE: Now very briefly on the issue of containment, we provide financial support in the form of loans to quite a few African countries, actually 18 of them at the moment. And if ever there was spreading or very specific needs related to the spreading of the disease of course we would be open to additional support.DR. KIM: Well, it's still very much in the early stages. This is really just in concept form. But the thinking is that this would actually require all the multilateral systems working together. What we found in Ebola is that it's not just the World Health Organization, the World Health Organization is playing a critical role, but also the World Food Program because there's also food security issues. UNICEF has been working on procurement and community based responses. You know, of course, our role has been partly in the funding, but just in managing logistics for example, many of the different organizations have been involved. The peacekeeping apparatus of the UN system, you know, people who have led that system are now working on logistics. I think that ultimately what you'll see is that the funding streams organized by the international financial institutions and it will be coordinated very closely with lots of different institutions. For example, you know, probably among the best organizations in managing epidemic outbreaks is the United States Center for Disease Control. They will surely be involved. The Pasteur Institute in France will surely be involved.What we've recognized is that this is now something we have to take with deadly seriousness. You know, we need a rapidly dispersing financial instrument, we need almost with military precision we need to do exercises to make sure that the next time this happens we'll be ready. The point I'd like to make is that this is a slow-moving virus. If this were a Coronavirus, the virus that causes SARS, if this were a pandemic flu, it would be moving very quickly and what we know it would do is every weak link in the chain, every country that does not have these systems in place to stop these outbreaks would accelerate the epidemic even more. So I think we've got a very tough dose of the reality of what these outbreaks can look like. You know, a very wise man who was one of the leaders, Larry Brilliant, of the smallpox response said outbreaks are inevitable but pandemics, meaning epidemics that cover the entire world, are entirely in our control. This is not yet a pandemic, but we have to get moving to ensure that it won't become one.MODERATOR: Right here in the front.QUESTION: Good afternoon. My first question goes to the World Bank boss. You talked about the adverse human reaction to the Ebola virus, but don't you also think that some of the governments in those countries haven't done much to give some confidence to businesses outside? Kenya Airway for instance was one of the last airlines to withdraw from the region of these countries because people think that they are not seeing this government doing that much. Apart from extending support to these countries what are you doing to ensure that these funds go to the right areas to contain the spread of these diseases? And my second quick question is about Ghana which was seen as a rising star in the sub region, now the economy is going through a lot of problems. What help are you willing to extend to Ghana to let it regain its status and also to ensure that authorities do the right thing so you don't come in again to help them? Thank you.DR. KIM: Thank you. And, you know, I think Madam Lagarde and I will share the answer on Ghana because Ghana is doing some very positive thing and reaching out in I think important ways. So let me first start with the funds. The funds are being watched very, very carefully. And so for example for funds that need to go directly into the hands of health workers that are paid by the government that money goes directly into the government's bank account. For those funds that are going to UNICEF or WHO or other organizations that are working, we actually make direct payments to those organizations. So we are following it as closely as we can and we are doing everything we can to ensure that every dollar of this money is spent, you know, in an actually tackling the epidemic. Now we're moving very quickly. So for example from the day the Board approved $105 million, within 9 days it was in the bank accounts of the countries and the organizations that we're working with. That's been unheard of speed for us. It usually takes many months in order to move money but we did it that quickly. Now anytime you do that, you know, it is even more important that you're extremely, extremely diligent in following the funds and we're doing that right now.In terms of Ghana, you know, I met with President Mahama very, very recently and he's very much aware of the kinds of structural reforms that he needs to undertake in order to get Ghana back on a much more vigorous growth path. And I think my own sense is that the President has really now understood the full nature of the challenge in front of him and he is very committed to undertaking the reforms that we know and that he knows that he's got to undertake. Now in addition to being very committed to the reform process, President Mahama also has been absolutely critical to the fight against Ebola because he's allowed Accra to be the staging center, meaning anyone who's going into these three countries is stopping in Accra. Now I think he is a fantastic example of how, you know, science and awareness trumped fear, and solidarity trumped any kind of temptation to just turn his back. So we're extremely grateful to President Mahama for his role in fighting this epidemic. And we're also very encouraged that he understands the path toward reform and he's committed to it.Do you want to anything, Christine? No?MS. LAGARDE: No. Because you've asked me the question about Ghana this morning and I gave you the answers.MODERATOR: Right here.QUESTION: Thank you, John. My question is for Dr. Kim and Madam Lagarde. As both the IMF and the World Bank have identified that China has overtaken the United States as the largest economy in the world based on the purchasing power parity, do you see a kind of shifting of powers between the world’s major economies and do you see the increasing demand to reform the quota system in both the World Bank and the IMF? And the second question is about infrastructure as both organizations have emphasized the importance of infrastructure development. For China, too much dependence on investment. We are in the process of restructuring. Do you see it’s still necessary for China to push the infrastructure projects? Thank you.MS. LAGARDE: On the measurement of the size of an economy, purchasing power parity is one way of measuring. And on that basis, China is certainly topping the economies. But if you look at other measurements, other economies are topping the list. And if you look at per capita GDP, clearly other countries are ahead. So to really get a sense of where the economies are situated relative to each other, you have to look at different measurements. You can’t just use one. GDP is the most frequently used one. It’s the market GDP. PPP is another one. Per capita GDP is another one, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s point number one.Is there shifting powers between advanced economies and emerging market and developing countries? Of course, we’re seeing it in the numbers. If you look at the average growth of the advanced economies relative to the average growth in the emerging market and developing countries, yes. Is the quota reform critically important? Yes, absolutely, and we all know that. We need the U.S. to ratify the 2010 reform of the governance and doubling of the quota and we very much hope that this will happen before the end of the year.DR. KIM: So, you know, China has made it clear that they want to shift from a growth strategy based on investment and exports to one based on consumption and services. And, you know, China had such high rates of investment to GDP, 46 percent, I think was the top rate. It’s not possible to just quickly reverse all of that. That would have very serious implications for the economy. So I know that China wants to step back, but it has to do it probably in a much more gradual way. You know, even with relatively lower growth rates, in the seven, seven and a half percent range, what we see so far is the continuing of the Chinese commitment to the reform process. We’ve been very engaged with them and our role has been one in which my predecessor wrote along with the Chinese NDRC a brilliant report called China 2030 that really laid out the steps in the reform process. And what we are seeing is that China’s actually following those steps. When I took over, the leadership was so happy with that process led by Bob Zoellick that they asked us to do the next study, which is on urbanization. And already China is beginning to do those things which they know they need to do as 300 million more people come into the cities and China becomes the first country in the world to have more than 1 billion city dwellers, which will happen soon enough. And now we’re working with them on healthcare. Because once again, the idea is that their investment in people has to be of higher quality. And that they’re really thinking about how to upgrade their healthcare services so that the improved health outcomes also spurs growth. So, you know, it’s a very complicated thing to move the largest country in the world down a different development path. So far the commitment of the Chinese government to that reform path has been very encouraging. And we look forward to continuing to work with them very closely and we’re also very encouraged that China has indicated that they’re interested in increasing their borrowing from us. You know, not that they need the money, but that we can work together for example on pilot projects utilizing new ideas from other countries about how to make the healthcare system more effective and efficient. We look forward to doing just those things with the Chinese government.MODERATOR: Just have time for one or two. Right, here.QUESTION: Thank you. Dr. Kim, you just talked about the Asian infrastructure investment bank. The other day you say the World Bank working closely with if it’s funded. Yet, New York Times today they report that the U.S. is actually opposing the idea and by saying that it’s an deliberate effort to undercut the World Bank. Since the infrastructure investment is so important to the world development, so if I may, may I ask you what your reaction to the report and do you support the idea of forming the AIIB? Thank you.DR. KIM: Well, so last year we spent about $24 billion on infrastructure. And the infrastructure was about 40 percent of our overall portfolio. And so but if you look at low and middle income countries, the estimation is that the infrastructure funding deficit is anywhere from one trillion to $1.5 trillion, so our $24 billion barely touches it. And if you put all the multi-level development banks together, it’s in the $40 to 50 billion range, again, not even close to meeting the need. Moreover, private sector investments and infrastructure developing countries actually went down from 2012 to 2013. So there’s no question that there’s a huge need for investment in infrastructure. And so I’ve been in very deep conversations with the Chinese authorities and they have assured me again and again they have no intention of making this bank a rival to the World Bank or if indeed, I just spoke with Vice Minister Shi today about how we can work even more closely together. You know, we’ve been around for 70 years. We are full of experts who know how to do project preparation, implementation, who know how to do project supervision who, you know, the Bank invented the project cycle decades ago. So I think that our position is very clear. The enemy is poverty. And in order to fight poverty, you need to build infrastructure, especially in the low and middle income countries. And so any group that is focused on fighting poverty by investing in infrastructure is our friend. You know, my own sense is that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be one of the partners in the global infrastructure facility. It just makes sense.Again, you know, we have to look at this from the actual problem of infrastructure deficit, and not from the problem of politics. We are non-political organization.MODERATOR: I'm sorry. We'll now have to conclude the press conference. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, October 10, 2014—In the wake of a “late, inadequate and slow” global response to the Ebola outbreak, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today called for the creation of a new pandemic... Show More + emergency facility that would rapidly respond to future outbreaks by delivering money to countries in crisis.Speaking before the Annual Meetings plenary, a meeting of the governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Kim said he would like to develop the proposals for a financial instrument with the United Nations, the IMF and regional development banks. He said even as the focus should now be intensely on doing everything possible to stop Ebola, planning must also begin for the next pandemic, which “could spread much more quickly, kill even more people and potentially devastate the global economy”.“The world has an IMF to coordinate and work with central banks and ministries to respond to financial crises,” he said. “When it comes to health emergencies, however, our institutional toolbox is empty: There’s no such center of knowledge and skill for response and coordination."He said the Bank Group’s financial teams have proposed several solutions, including the pandemic emergency facility. “The device would pre-package a response, establishing contingent funding agreements with donors and receipt mechanisms for possible recipients. So when a global health emergency is declared, financial support would be readily available and flow quickly to support an immediate response"Kim said the Bank’s work on Ebola, including in the innovative use of crisis funding to disburse $105 million over nine days in emergency funding, had been informed by its focus over the past two years on climate change.He told delegates the World Bank Group was fully engaged in fighting the global threats posed by both Ebola and climate change. He said the actions exemplify that the Bank Group wants to become, defining that as “an indispensable partner for both low and middle income countries in their efforts to solve their most difficult challenges.”He warned time was running out to find solutions to both the threats posed by climate change and Ebola.“Also, until very recently, the plans to fight them were either non-existent or inadequate. And, inaction is literally killing people – one because of the rapid spread of a deadly virus, the other from the poisoning of the atmosphere and the oceans. And finally, perhaps most critically from our point of view, resolving these problems is essential to development, whether from the perspective of human suffering, economic growth, or public health. “He said Bank Group staff from the climate group, plus experts working on urban issues and with the private sector, would meet later today with government officials and corporate CEOs to decide how to turn pledges by governments, companies and investors to put a price on carbon into action.In his speech, Kim also cited the Bank Group’s work in creating the Global Infrastructure Facility, a global platform to bring together institutional investors, development banks, and public officials to tackle the infrastructure deficit now faced by the developing world, an estimated US$1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. Kim praised the work of staff across the institution saying in infrastructure, Ebola and climate change, teams had worked collaboratively and displayed an inspiring commitment to innovation.“Their efforts displayed creativity, knowledge, skill, intensity, passion and selflessness. Their sharing of ideas and best practices is precisely the culture we wanted the reorganization to create,” he said.“We must maintain this commitment because increasing global fragility and volatility will challenge us more and more every day. In our march to end extreme poverty – conflict, typhoons, floods, droughts, financial shocks and epidemics may, at times, slow us. But they will not stop us. The Bank will be aggressive and creative and apply large-scale solutions to help states manage, prepare for, recover from and conquer these risks, so they can grow and flourish. “ Show Less -
July 2010: Fifth Global Progress ReportFull report: Animal and Pandemic Influenza: A Framework for SustainingExecutive Summaries: Arabic Chinese English French Russian &nbs... Show More +p; Spanish----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------October 2008: Fourth Global Progress ReportFull report: Responses to Avian Influenza & State of Pandemic ReadinessExecutive Summaries: Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------December 2007: Third Global Progress ReportFull report: Responses to Avian Influenza & State of Pandemic ReadinessExecutive Summaries: Arabic Chinese English Russian Spanish----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------December 2006: Second Global Progress ReportResponses to Avian and Human Influenza ThreatsPart I: Progress, Analysis and RecommendationsPart II: Country Profiles----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------June 2006: First Global Progress ReportFull report: Responses to Avian and Human Influenza Threats: Progress, Analysis and Recommendations Show Less -
Dean Harvey, thank you for that warm welcome and, President Frederick, thank you for the kind introduction. And thank you to the students, staff and faculty for being excellent hosts. To the best of o... Show More +ur knowledge, this is the first time that a president of the World Bank Group has addressed the Howard community. I am grateful to everyone here who made this opportunity possible.In preparing for this speech, we did some research on Howard’s history. I was impressed with what we found. I am honored to be at an institution once led by James Nabrit, one of the leading constitutional and civil rights lawyers of his generation; and I am humbled to be at a place that helped shape the thinking of Pauli Murray, a courageous feminist trailblazer and thinker. Over varied and highly accomplished careers, both Nabrit and Murray worked to make the world a more just place. At the Bank, we are driven by the same aspiration.Over the last two years, I have led an effort at the World Bank Group to reorganize the institution to accomplish our twin goals: end extreme poverty by 2030; and boost shared prosperity among the poorest 40 percent in developing countries.The first goal is ambitious, and it reflects the tremendous progress we’ve made over the last quarter century in the fight against poverty. In 1990, 36 percent of the world’s population, or 1.9 billion people, earned less than $1.25 a day. By next year, our economists estimate that that rate will have declined to 12 percent – a two-thirds reduction in 25 years. This means that, by next year, one billion fewer people will be living in extreme poverty than in 1990. That’s major progress. However, helping the next billion escape poverty will be far more difficult. We have much work to do, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 450 million people wake up in poverty each day.The second goal – boosting shared prosperity – is what I want to talk with you about today. We are working to ensure that the growth of the global economy will improve the lives of all members of society, not only a fortunate few. To accomplish this, the World Bank Group aims to achieve specific income-related and social goals: We want to raise the income of the lowest 40 percent of earners in developing countries, and improve their access to life’s essentials, including food, shelter, health care, education and jobs.Let me put this in perspective: For the first time in the history of the World Bank Group, we have set a goal that aims to reduce global inequality. As the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa shows, the importance of this objective could not be more clear. The battle against the virus is a fight on many fronts – human lives and health foremost among them. But it is also a fight against inequality. The knowledge and infrastructure to treat the sick and contain the virus exists in high and middle income counties. However, over many years, we have failed to make these things accessible to low-income people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. So now, thousands of people in these countries are dying because, in the lottery of birth, they were born in the wrong place. If we do not stop Ebola now, the infection will continue to spread to other countries and even continents – just yesterday the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. This pandemic shows the deadly cost of unequal access to basic services and the consequences of our failure to fix this problem.As I will discuss later in my remarks, the World Bank Group and others have begun to take steps to get resources into the right place. Our actions have arisen directly from our decision to make boosting shared prosperity part of the Bank’s primary mission.When a visitor enters our Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters, one of the first things she sees is an inscription on the wall that reads as follows: “Our dream is a world free of poverty.” While achieving this goal through development is a complex undertaking, two things are essential. First, we must help low-income countries grow their economies. In the last four years alone, high rates of growth in China and India have meant that 232 million people no longer live in poverty. Second, low-income people who live in low-income countries must share in the gains from that growth. Shared prosperity is part of the Bank’s headline goals simply because it is required to end poverty.Boosting shared prosperity is also important in the pursuit of justice. Oxfam International, the poverty fighting organization, recently reported that the world’s richest 85 people have as much combined wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion. Think about that: A group far smaller than the number of people in this room possesses more wealth than half the world’s population. With so many people in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Asia, and Latin America, living in extreme poverty, this state of affairs is a stain on our collective conscience. Protecting an individual’s ability to reap financial reward for hard work and success is extremely important. It creates motivation; it drives innovation; and it permits people to help others. At the same time, what does it mean that so much of the world’s enormous wealth has accrued to so few?As an economic system, global market capitalism has produced affluence and innovation. These are very good things. However, an economic system’s legitimacy is also tied to its ability to make two things accessible to all: the riches it generates and the social benefits that arise from that wealth. Unfortunately, national income gains from growth tend not to be shared among a population in anything close to equal measure. In his 2014 best seller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty showed that, in developed economies, these gains generally flow at substantially higher rates to owners than to workers. Ultimately, we want to ensure the global economic system’s gains are distributed in a fashion that creates opportunity and respects human dignity.So what does it look like to boost shared prosperity? As I explained earlier, one important metric is the relative income level of the poorest 40 percent of a national population. During the 2000s, these earners enjoyed more rapid income growth rates than the general population in 52 out of 78 low-income countries. But our mixed progress in achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals shows that the general well-being of households in the bottom 40 percent remains much lower than in higher-income households. In other words, even though their incomes grew faster, low-income households did not reap the same social benefits as the more affluent, including access to food, clean water and sanitation.Fundamentally, increasing individual incomes, while important, is only part of the equation for boosting shared prosperity. We also need economic growth to deliver benefits that create more just societies. So, in addition to changes in income, boosting shared prosperity focuses on improving gender equity and low income people’s access to food, shelter, clean water, sanitation health care, education and jobs.How can the World Bank Group do this? One essential mechanism is our more than $60 billion dollar annual portfolio of financial support to build public institutions and to catalyze a vibrant private sector. By creating knowledge-based global practice groups, our reorganization has developed another critical tool – something we’ve been calling the science of delivery. In order to solve the world’s most difficult development problems, we must ask ourselves two questions. The first is whether the solution is equal to the challenge. In other words, do we understand the problem and does our answer solve it? The second is whether someone, either in or outside the Bank, has found ways to deliver the solution. If so, can we capture it, apply it, and scale it up in other contexts? Our global practices are focused on answering these critical questions.Boosting shared prosperity is the World Bank Group’s way of tackling the challenge of inequality. Identifying ways to deliver the solution requires at least two steps. First, we need to improve our understanding of how economic growth at the national level has an impact on the development of individual households. So we need to collect better and more precise data from low-income countries.Second, when we provide project-based financial and technical assistance, we must continue to evaluate these initiatives’ impact on low-income people’s earnings. Take building roads. In Bangladesh, we helped build and fix three thousand kilometers of roads. Then we studied whether these improvements made a difference. We found that in just six years’ time, the average household income in the areas of these projects grew 74 percent. This was largely because the roads connected communities to markets. We also looked at areas that had not received these upgrades. There, average household incomes declined 23 percent. These kinds of assessments show what does and doesn’t work when it comes to boosting shared prosperity.Our experience tells us that four strategies are also integral to accomplishing this goal: building human capital; constructing well-designed and implemented social safety nets; offering incentives for the private sector to create good jobs; and implementing fiscally and environmentally sustainable policies to pursue these ends. Projects that share these attributes will receive priority access to the Bank’s financial and technical assistance.The science of delivery has also helped guide our response to the Ebola epidemic. The virus is spreading out of control in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Thousands of people are dead. Likely well over ten thousand people have become infected. And both of these numbers are climbing rapidly. As a consequence, our ability to boost shared prosperity in West Africa – and potentially the entire continent – may be quickly disappearing.Under the Bank’s best case scenario, Ebola will cause the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth in the affected countries. This is a critically serious matter. These states are emerging from years of civil war and strife, both of which contributed to their low levels of per capita income. Growth is therefore essential to easing the horrible conditions in which millions of their citizens live. If the pandemic continues to jump to other countries, the growth lost could climb into the tens of billions of dollars or higher. So, unless we stop the infection’s spread now, there will be little prosperity to share, to say nothing of the number of people who will be unable to partake in what remains.The world’s response to date has been inadequate. I’m a doctor trained in infectious diseases and have treated poor and marginalized people in Haiti, Peru, and Lesotho, among other places. We treated people suffering from complex diseases such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and HIV. So it has been painful to see us replay old failures from previous epidemics.At the turn of the century, HIV had infected an estimated 24 million people in Africa. While effective treatments for the virus existed for rich people, low-income people on the continent did not have access to them because of a failure of imagination and low aspirations for the poor. Some global health experts believed that providing effective HIV treatment to low-income communities was too difficult and would cost too much. Yet today, more than 10 million poor people worldwide are being treated for HIV.We have made similar mistakes when it comes to combatting Ebola in West Africa, even though we received repeated warnings from governments of the affected countries, Médecins Sans Frontières and others. So now, we’re playing catch up.To determine how we could contribute to a coordinated response, the World Bank Group identified infectious disease experts who have on the ground experience implementing complex containment and treatment protocols in low-income countries. We then sent them to Guinea and Liberia. Based on what they saw, they have told us that, if we make an enormous surge now, we can treat the sick and contain the virus. The infrastructure we need is not that difficult to build and we have protocols to limit the infection’s spread. Most importantly, they have told us that further delay will make an effective response exponentially more difficult.We’re now moving quickly to do our part. The World Bank Group has transferred $105 million dollars in emergency funding to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – more money to date than any other organization. This ensures their governments have cash to purchase equipment and services essential to fighting Ebola. Overall, we have committed $400 million dollars to support treatment and containment. And we have devoted our considerable analytical resources to show that acting now will save hundreds of millions if not tens of billions of dollars.Other parts of the coordinated global response are also taking place. In the last few weeks, we have seen significant action from President Obama and the United States; the British and French governments are also stepping up their efforts.Still, because of the epidemic’s scope and rapid growth, more progress is needed. If the CDC’s worst case scenario comes true, and 1.4 million people are infected, the virus’s impact will be truly global. Concerned citizens need to demand immediate deployments of capital and human resources to the affected countries. Otherwise, thousands more will die needless deaths and an economic catastrophe may take place.The World Bank Group is now fully engaged in fighting Ebola to prevent this outcome; we are also involved because we are committed to promoting equality. Indeed, we aspire to live this value every day in our own workplace. Our employees are citizens of over one hundred countries and speak well over one hundred languages. I am proud of the institution’s openness to differences in no small part because I know what the alternative looks like. After emigrating from Korea as a child, I grew up in a small town in Iowa. I understand what it’s like to be an outsider, and occasionally experienced the pain of racial and ethnic prejudice. At the Bank, exclusion and bias are not tolerated.Over time, we have made progress in expanding diversity among World Bank Group employees, but we can do better. For years, for instance, we have fallen short in recruiting African Americans to our ranks. That is changing. We have asked some of the most thoughtful national leaders on diversity to help us build a broad and sustained outreach to highly qualified African American candidates. We will set concrete targets to encourage senior managers to hire more diverse staff. I expect to see the results of our work this coming year.Howard University is also helping this efforts. The university and the World Bank Group are in discussions to create internships for doctoral candidates in economics to work with our Development Economics Vice President’s office. These internships would create the opportunity for Howard graduate students to immerse themselves in development policies and programs affecting countries around the world. I also invite all Howard graduates to apply for our expanded analyst and Young Professional programs, which are excellent ways to launch careers at the institution.I hope that these steps and my presence here encourage many of you to prepare your resumes. Twenty-nine Howard graduates currently work at the Bank. We are always looking for the best and the brightest, and we have found many of them right here.In 1957, the trustees of Howard University awarded Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson honorary Doctor of Laws degrees. Mr. Robinson had just retired from Major League Baseball and was 38 years-old; Dr. King was just 28 years-old. Six years later, during the March on Washington, he stood before the Lincoln Memorial and gave his famous “I have a Dream Speech.” Five years after that, he was shot and killed.Dr. King was one of my heroes. When I was growing up, my mother, a philosopher, used to read his speeches to me. I think about him today because of his bond with Howard and his embrace, years ago, of what have become the World Bank Group’s twin goals.Four days before his death, Dr. King gave one of his final sermons. Standing only a few miles from here at Washington’s National Cathedral, he called poverty a “monstrous octopus” that “spreads its nagging, prehensile tentacles into hamlets and villages all over our world.” He said that he had seen it in Latin America, Africa and Asia, in addition to Mississippi, New Jersey and New York. He spoke of the challenge “to rid our nation and the world of poverty.”Dr. King told the audience that, “in a few weeks,” he planned to join others in a new March on Washington. He called it a “Poor People’s Campaign” to “demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty.” He explained that, in this mission, wealth was not wrong, but part of the solution. He said that America’s capacity as “the richest nation in the world” gave it the “opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots.” He also explicitly linked justice to economic development. In words that resonate with all of us here, he said, [and I quote]:“If a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”The World Bank Group’s two main goals stand in lockstep with the agenda Dr. King laid out in those days before his death, now 56 years ago. Boosting shared prosperity will be achieved by raising incomes, creating jobs, educating children, and providing all with access to food, water, shelter and health care. By doing so, we will grow our collective wealth and nurture our humanity. To paraphrase Dr. King, we will bend the arc of history toward justice.Please join this mission. Help make YOUR generation the generation that ends extreme poverty and reduces inequality all over the world.Thank you very much. Show Less -
Thank you very much, Deputy Secretary General, Excellencies, President Condé of Guinea and, online, President Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia, President Koroma of Sierra Leone, ladies and gentlemen.I spo... Show More +ke to all three of the leaders yesterday, I spoke to friends and colleagues who just returned from the region, and I first want to thank all of the three leaders for their courage and determination in the face of this epidemic. But I just want to also give you a bit of my sense, as an infectious disease doctor, of what I see as the seriousness of this epidemic.I have spent most of my adult life fighting very, very complicated, difficult epidemics, like drug-resistant tuberculosis in some of the poorest countries in the world. I have been involved in the treatment of HIV, again in some of the poorest countries in the world. But I have never seen anything close to the challenge that we’re facing.The speed, complexity and the magnitude of the response that is required is unlike anything we’ve seen before.Now, I want to point out that for the first two years of my tenure at the World Bank Group, I spent a lot of it talking about the great success story of Africa. Even in the midst of the financial crisis, the African countries were growing at a rate of over five percent. Now, this was due to the extremely hard work and great leadership in the continent. But the entire global community has a huge stake in this success, because we know that debt forgiveness and investments in treatments for HIV, malaria, for example, have also contributed to the outstanding performance, and I just want to say that all of this is at risk.If the scenarios that have been provided to us by the United States Center for Disease Control come true, and we have over a million cases, we are talking about nothing less than the potential meltdown of this continent.Now, we have to not shirk away from a response that will be equal to the challenge. And what I mean is very specific.I want to thank in this regard the Secretary-General, the newly formed UN mission, the World Health Organization and Margaret Chan’s leadership, the United States, the United Kingdom. I especially want to mention Médecins Sans Frontières, who have been sounding the cry for a very long time and have developed, for example, methods of preventing the spread of infection that are both creative and effective.But here’s what we now face. We have to scale up our ground game and get effective prevention and treatment to every village, every community.Now, just yesterday, I had lunch, sitting next to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. I congratulated him for a very effective response on one cross-border case that they experienced. But I was later to learn that this required thousands of people. This required thousands of home visits to do the contact tracing. And what I suggested to President Jonathan is that if we don’t get this under control in these three countries, that tens of thousands could cross the border. He told me that this would almost shut them down.Let me be very clear – we can stop this epidemic. But we cannot shape our interventions based on what we think might be possible. Our interventions have to be shaped on what it will take to actually stop the epidemic.It is going to require a massive scale up of health workers. It is going to require a massive scale up in the equipment that is available. We’re going to have to think about implementing very complex interventions in the specific cities and even villages in order to get this under control.Let me repeat – we need to act now.We approved, nine days ago, $105 million and we disbursed that already in nine days. And any of you who worked at the World Bank knows that that is almost a miracle.I just went back to the Board and I asked them to nearly double our commitment, so we will now be committing $400 million to the response. And I told the Board that the potential implications of this for the entire continent of Africa are so severe that we will simply have to do whatever it takes to mount the response.We are facing a crisis that we all have to contribute to. And the one thing that would be a mistake is to settle for a response that we are comfortable with, but that won’t stop the disease.I thank everyone for what they’ve done to date. We will be back, and I am certain that we will be back asking for more support. But with the potential of tens of billions of dollars of losses, we know every day will count, and we count on our solidarity with these three countries. Thank you. Show Less -