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PRESS RELEASE April 13, 2019

World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2019: Development Committee Communiqué

1. The Development Committee met today, April 13, in Washington, D.C.

2. The global outlook foresees a moderate slowdown in economic activity, while lingering downside risks remain. Global trade growth has weakened, investment prospects have softened, debt vulnerabilities persist, and policy uncertainty weighs on confidence. We reiterate the important role of international trade and investment as engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and sustainable development. We continue to support the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in their multipronged approach, with borrowers and creditors, to improve the recording, monitoring, and reporting of public and private debt, as well as efforts to strengthen creditor coordination in debt restructuring situations, drawing on existing fora. We stress the importance of adopting growth-enhancing policies while containing risks and protecting the most vulnerable. We call on both institutions to work jointly with policy makers to identify the right balance, given country circumstances, between supporting demand and rebuilding fiscal space; to help countries improve debt management capacity, sustainability, and transparency; and to strengthen domestic resource mobilization.

3. We endorsed a transformative capital package for IBRD and IFC one year ago. This package and the Forward Look guide the WBG’s strategic direction to 2030. We welcome the paper Update: The Forward Look and IBRD-IFC Capital Package Implementation and the significant policy reforms delivered, including: IBRD loan pricing and Single Borrower Limit differentiation, the IFC additionality framework, the IBRD Financial Sustainability Framework, and the revised methodology for staff compensation. We also note the strong yet selective WBG engagement in countries above the graduation discussion income as reflected in the revised guidance for country partnership frameworks. We encourage the Bank Group to continue implementing and monitoring the agreed efficiency measures. We request management to continue tracking progress against the Forward Look and capital package commitments and to update the Governors in one year.

4. We welcome the ongoing work by shareholders to start the subscription documentation and payment process for the IBRD capital increase launched on October 2, 2018. We urge that all outstanding adoptions of IFC resolutions be secured by September 18, 2019.

5. We remain committed to the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity as well as the WBG’s global role and the objectives set out in the Forward Look: (i) serving all clients; (ii) leading on the global public goods agenda, (iii) creating markets, and (iv) continually improving the business and operational model. Effective implementation will require strong country partnership with IBRD and IDA clients with a focus on measurable development outcomes. The capital package will enhance WBG leadership in the key areas of crisis preparedness, prevention and management; situations of fragility, conflict and violence (FCV); climate change; gender equality; knowledge and convening; and regional integration.

6. The Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, IDA, is critical to reaching the WBG’s goals as well as to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We welcome the strong delivery of the ambitious and innovative IDA18 package and support recently proposed adjustments, particularly the reallocation across IDA windows. We call on the Bank Group to strengthen emphasis on jobs and economic transformation in IDA countries, one of the IDA19 special themes. We also support the other special themes – governance and institutions, gender, climate change and FCV – as well as the cross-cutting areas of debt, disability, human capital and technology. We observe the rising debt levels in IDA countries and encourage measures to enhance their debt sustainability. We look forward to the outcomes of the upcoming meeting of IDA Deputies and their guidance on strategic directions and the IDA19 Roadmap.

7. We welcome the Mainstreaming the Approach to Disruptive and Transformative Technologies at the World Bank Group paper and the WBG’s efforts to make these technologies affordable and accessible for developing countries. We encourage the WBG to create opportunities for the poor and mitigate risks associated with technology. We ask the Bank Group to continue to work with countries as well as private and public sector partners to mainstream this agenda across sectors. We particularly welcome its work on competitiveness, innovation and consumer protection by supporting agile regulations. We also call on the WBG and IMF to continue work on fintech issues, building on the momentum generated by the Bali Fintech Agenda.

8. Investments in human capital that produce better learning and health outcomes are critical to productivity and economic well-being. We welcome the strong start on the Human Capital Project and the fact that close to 60 countries have joined thus far. We request further development of disaggregated data and refinement of indicators under the Human Capital Index and an emphasis on policy reforms that achieve tangible results. We look forward to an update on the Human Capital Project in October 2019.

9. The private sector plays a key role in providing sustainable solutions to development challenges, creating markets, mobilizing investment and generating jobs. We encourage the WBG to foster enabling business environments, leverage capital, and implement the Cascade to maximize finance for development. We support the IFC 3.0 strategy to catalyze private sector investments. We acknowledge IFC and MIGA efforts to increase investments in IDA countries and fragile situations, and we support the use of the IDA Private Sector Window to reach the most vulnerable, recognizing that such projects come with higher risks. We call on the World Bank, IFC and MIGA to be innovative and work together in mobilizing private sector solutions and resources, leveraging sectoral reforms, and mitigating investment risks.

10. Fragility, conflict and violence cause human suffering, vulnerability and displacement, and economic stress, all posing challenges to delivering the 2030 Agenda. In addition, economic crises, natural disasters, and pandemics can test countries’ resilience and threaten development gains. Building institutional capacity, developing disaster resilience, and encouraging knowledge sharing and south-south cooperation are also key priorities, particularly for small states. We support strengthening domestic resource mobilization, addressing illicit financial flows and corruption, as well as investing in quality infrastructure and enhancing energy security to improve the response to crises. We reiterate the importance of delivering on the WBG’s Climate Change Action Plan. We look forward to the development of a strategy on FCV.

11. As the WBG scales up work in high-risk scenarios, where institutional capacity is often weak, strong environmental and social protections and accountability processes are critical, and we support the WBG’s continued commitment in these areas. We acknowledge the important role that the World Bank’s Inspection Panel and the IFC and MIGA Compliance Advisor Ombudsman play in accountability, lessons learned, and mitigating risks in an efficient and effective way.

12. We urge the WBG to continue to work closely with public and private partners including international financial institutions and the UN, on the most pressing development challenges. We note that heads of state will gather in September for the UN summit focusing on climate, universal health coverage, SDGs, financing for development, and small island developing states. We also underscore the importance of continued WBG and IMF collaboration in implementing their respective mandates as well as the potential of multilateral development banks working as a system to improve their response to common challenges, including through a coordinated country platform approach.

13. We are encouraged by progress on diversity and inclusion among WBG staff and management, and we continue to support the Board in its work to enhance and promote gender diversity at the WBG Executive Boards. Closing gender gaps is smart economics, while balanced representation and full gender equality are central to the Bank’s mission. We urge continued work on this front.

14. We congratulate Mr. David Malpass on his selection as President of the World Bank Group and look forward to working closely with him. We value his strong commitment to the Bank Group, its mission and strategy. We express our appreciation to Dr. Jim Yong Kim for his leadership of the WBG and its significant accomplishments during his tenure. We also thank Ms. Kristalina Georgieva for her leadership and effective management of WBG affairs as Interim President.

15. The next meeting of the Development Committee is scheduled for October 19, 2019, in Washington, DC.