Speeches & Transcripts

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim’s Statement at the Spring Meetings 2013 Closing Press Conference

April 20, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Spring Meetings 2013 Closing Press Conference Washington, DC, United States

As Prepared for Delivery


This is it. This is the global target to end poverty.

Thank you for coming and I just want you to know that less than an hour ago, for the first time in history, we have committed to setting a target to end poverty. We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty. We have set an expiration date for extreme poverty. With commitment, cooperation, and the vision of leaders from around the world, we have great faith that we can make it happen.

This will be hard work. The target of 2030 is closer than you think – just 17 years away. We will bring the urgency of the task to the world every year by reporting on our progress, country by country, on the rate of extreme poverty around the world as well as the changes in the income of the bottom 40 percent in each country, the people who are vulnerable to slipping back into poverty in the event of losing a job or suffering a health crisis. We will learn every year where we are making progress and where we are not.

I also very much welcome the Development Committee’s call for a robust replenishment of our fund for the poorest – IDA – with strong participation from all members.

These Spring Meetings – my first as World Bank Group President – had several other major highlights. One was the uplifting presence and participation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who joined me for several high-level meetings and events and who most importantly underscored the great importance of the UN system and the World Bank Group working hand in hand to end poverty. We can be much more effective and efficient if we combine forces to address political, security and economic development issues at the same time. This is our promise to the world.

A second key issue at these Meetings was the attention paid to climate change. As I talked about in several meetings, we need a plan that is equal to the challenge of a disastrously warming planet. A third important part of these meetings was the focus on the need for countries to invest more in health and education. Without providing universal access to education, without improving education systems so that all children not only attend school but learn in school, and without building health care systems that truly provide quality care to all people, countries will miss the opportunity to make the critical investments in human capital that will determine their competitive position in the global economy. Investment in people, especially in health and education, is the right thing to do, both from a moral and a strategic perspective.

Thank you very much.