Speeches & Transcripts

Remarks by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at TICAD-V Opening Plenary Session

June 1, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim TICAD-V Conference Yokohama, Japan


Minasama Ohayo gozaimasu.
Kono Rekishi Aru
Yokohama no Machi ni
TICAD-V no Tameni
Kuru Kotoga Deki
Taihen Ko-ei Desu.

(In Japanese. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here in the historical city of Yokohama to participate in TICAD-V).

Now for your sake and especially my sake, I will continue in English.

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Abe

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Desalagen
Your Excellency, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Your Excellency, Chair of the African Union,
Your Excellency, Helen Clark, of UNDP
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government
Your Excellencies, Ministers, Heads of International Organizations and Partner Countries, 

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to join you at TICAD V and to address this distinguished group. I would like to especially thank the Government of Japan, and especially Prime Minister Abe and the Mayor and the Municipality of Yokohama, for your warm welcome and these excellent facilities. 

The World Bank Group is pleased to be a co-organizer of TICAD, and it is an honor to commemorate both the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU and the 20th Anniversary of TICAD. 

It is important to reflect on what has been achieved during these past decades. Because of course, there is so much to be proud of. I would like to particularly commend the TICAD process for its emphasis on ownership and partnership, for championing Asian-African cooperation, and for underscoring the centrality of human security to development. 

But I would like also to challenge us to look ahead.

At our recent Spring Meetings, the World Bank Group pledged to work with countries to achieve two goals. 

First, we will join forces to end absolute poverty by 2030. But ending extreme poverty is not enough.  We must also boost shared prosperity. We’ll work with countries to nurture economic growth that favors the relatively disadvantaged in every society. We’ll track progress by monitoring income growth among the poorest 40 percent of people in every country. 

These goals will keep us laser-focused on results. 

Ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity will require vibrant economic growth. In turn, strong, inclusive growth demands progress in education, health, nutrition, and access to essential infrastructure. 

Africa will be at the heart of the effort to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. Africa is varied and complex. This richness poses challenges, but also opens extraordinary opportunities.

The World Bank Group will work with countries in all regions of Africa to achieve your specific aims. Some countries in Northern Africa are pursuing complex processes of political and social transition. The Sahel countries are working to end poverty and seize new economic opportunities while confronting the effects of climate change, food security challenges, and threats to security. Countries of the Great Lakes are committing to a sustained peace effort that is crucial for this region to realize its extraordinary potential. Just a little more than a week ago, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and I traveled to the Great Lakes to underscore our deep commitment to peace, security, and economic development is linked processes in the region.

In all of these regions, countries face critical choices. The World Bank Group is committed to support African countries and partners in these diverse settings, for the long run.

Africa has seen impressive growth, over the past 10 years. This is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa. When TICAD started in 1993, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth rate was just over 1 percent. In 2012, we estimated that growth at 4.7 percent, and 10 of the fastest growing economies that has been mentioned, were in Sub-Saharan Africa.

But much of this has to do with the sound macro-economic policies African countries have put in place, and I congratulate the countries’ leaders gathered here. 

The growth has had an impact on poverty – the poverty rate has been falling at one percentage point a year.  And for the first time, the absolute number of people living below $1.25 a day is falling - by more than nine million in the last three years. 

The World Bank Group partners with African countries through a variety of mechanisms, but particularly through the International Development Association, or IDA.  IDA, of course you know, is the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest.

Under IDA 16, half of IDA’s financial commitments were directed to sub-Saharan Africa - US$7.4 billion in FY12 alone.

Let me give you one example of IDA’s impact. Through IDA’s support of higher education in Mozambique, the number of students enrolled in higher education institutions increased from 9,800 in the year 2000, to 63,000 in 2007, and to over 105,000 in 2011.

But despite recent progress, Africa is also the continent where the challenge of extreme poverty remains most acute.  In 12 countries, the extreme poverty rate is higher than 60 percent. And of course, several countries are struggling to break cycles of fragility.

We will commit to working even more than deeply and broadly with countries facing fragility and conflict. We will not reach poverty and shared prosperity goals unless we focus on the people just in these countries. They are the ones who need us the most.

During my trip to the Great Lakes Region with the Secretary-General, I was impressed with the leaders’ and the people’s strong desire for peace. All along our route in Goma, hundreds of people lined the roads. Many of them were holding up signs. So many of those signs had the simple, one-word message: “Peace.”

These people deserve peace. If we are able to secure peace for the Great Lakes region, if we can attract new investments in energy and cross-border trade, if we can create good jobs, if we can build educational systems where children learn and health systems that offer quality care, we can have a transformative effect not only in the Great Lakes region but across the entirety of Africa.

The Secretary General said it so well as well as Madame Dlamini-Zuma. Security, peace, and economic development has to form their own a virtuous cycle in every one of these fragile and conflict affected states.

We know that success in these states is possible. We’ve seen remarkable gains in countries like Nepal, and progress in the very difficult setting of Afghanistan. In Africa, countries including Liberia and Mozambique are showing the way.

IDA has played a central role in supporting African fragile states’ efforts to rebuild institutions and rehabilitate infrastructure. We have provided US$13.63 billion to these states for the past decade alone.

You all know that this is an IDA replenishment year and we at the Bank are working hard to ensure a successful IDA 17. African leaders can be the best Ambassadors of IDA, and I count on your efforts and support during the rest of this year to show the donor community what we can accomplish together with a strong IDA.

As part of the World Bank Group’s new strategy, we are promising to further strengthen our commitment to states rebounding from fragility and conflict. We will adopt more agile operational policies and practices, something many of you talk to me all the time; we will deploy incentives to motivate our best staff to serve in fragile and conflict-affected states; and we’ll increase financing for these countries from IDA, while also working to leverage private sector investments. The World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, will focus much more of its efforts and resources in these countries.

We have the opportunity to make historic progress. We can end extreme poverty and build shared, sustainable prosperity for all peoples.

Countries in all regions of Africa will be leaders in this effort.

The World Bank Group is committed to work with countries in all African regions to achieve your goals. Organizations like the African Union and forums like TICAD will be more critical than ever to coordinate our work and reach our shared aims.

I thank you for your attention and I look forward to building with you the brilliant future for Africa as one of the primary drivers of growth and prosperity for the entire world.

Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu (in Japanese, thank you very much).