Thank you very much for joining us today.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Chinese people and Chinese leaders for the warm welcome and hospitality that I’ve received on this visit, my first to China since I became World Bank Group President.
My meetings in Beijing this week and my travels over the past two days have demonstrated to me that we share a common passion to do our very best to work toward ending poverty and building shared prosperity.
I witnessed this when I visited a maternal and child hospital re-built in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan with World Bank assistance, where people overcame adversity to build back better.
I noticed the same drive when I met a successful woman entrepreneur who owns a car maintenance business, who was helped by loans from a bank partnering with the IFC – our private sector arm - to increase access to finance for women in business. She went from being unemployed to running a business and employing 158 workers in just a few years.
The World Bank’s partnership with China is strong. An excellent example of collaboration was the China 2030 Report – which has generated considerable interest from other middle income countries around the world.
We are now taking our collaboration even further – with the World Bank and China now set to embark on a major new study on urbanization.
The study, suggested by Vice Premier Li Keqiang in our meeting, aims to not only to help China but all developing countries deal with the continuing massive influx of people into cities.
By 2030, nearly two-thirds of China’s population is expected to be living in urban areas. That’s means about 14 million more people in cities each year.
While research shows urbanization drives growth and raises living standards, it brings tremendous challenges to the environment, food security as well as the delivery of health care and education services.
With more and more people moving to cities around the globe, it’s critical to create sustainable, livable and smart urban centers. This major study will help deliver a strategic evidence-based approach to urbanization.
This study could be the first step in the new China-World Bank delivery knowledge hub, officially set up this week with support from China’s Minister of Finance Xie Xuren.
I have just come here from attending the first meeting of officials about the new knowledge hub and I am excited by its potential, to share the lessons of experience of China – a country that’s made a remarkable achievement in lifting 600 million people out of poverty in the past three decades – but still faces the challenge today of being home to the second largest number of poor in the world.
I’m happy to take your questions.