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Speeches & Transcripts March 16, 2018

Arunma Oteh Delivers Keynote Presentation for Investors on IDA Financing, Investing for Impact

Welcome, everyone.  I really would like to join Jim Yong Kim and George to reiterate our gratitude to all of you for making up time to be with us as we introduce IDA to you.  Reid and you colleagues, I want to thank you also for hosting this occasion.  And my profound gratitude to Right Honorable Lord Bates for his inspiring remarks.

Permit me also, like Jim Yong Kim, Right Honorable, to acknowledge the leadership of the UK Government on development issues.  You have supported the World Bank Group generously and you've inspired several innovative initiatives including, as Jim Yong Kim mentioned, the International Financing Facility for Immunization, which we also provide treasury services for.  And of course, more recently, the initiatives that we've worked on to help address the difficult refugee crisis that we have in the world.

My goal is really to complement the comments that Jim Yong Kim made.  My key message, though, is that IDA's stellar development track record and solid financial position make investing in IDA an exceptional opportunity.  As Jim Yong Kim pointed out, IDA is owned by 173 member countries: the US, Japan, the UK, Germany and France are its largest shareholders.

IDA's mission is to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.  IDA specifically provides technical assistance, loans, grants and guarantees to boost economic growth, reduce inequality and improve lives of the citizens of countries with a capita of almost $1,165.  You're already familiar with IBRD and IFC because they've been leveraging the capital markets for some time.  IDA enjoys the same immunities and privileges that they enjoy.

Let me now say a few words about the new IDA.  The Right Honorable talked about what is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals per year.  The goal of the new IDA is to leverage the capital markets to position IDA to scale up its capacity to support countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  IDA shareholders went about an almost 60 years of transforming development finance through IDA.

IDA replenishments, as you'll see on the chart on the right, have grown by 100 times from $753 million raised in 1964 to $75 billion in 2016, as Jim Yong Kim noted.  IDA's outstanding loans have equally risen from $1 billion in 1967 to $10 billion in 1980 and almost $100 billion with 75 countries – so, almost 100 times as well.  The new IDA model positions IDA to scale up this even further and help our 75 client countries meet today's challenges, which are very well articulated by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

How does IDA financing work?  IDA's new financing model builds on its exceptionally strong balance sheet, equity and financial strength.  It has expanded the range of financial products offered to clients and offers loans on the same terms as IBRD for clients that can afford it.  It has an updated risk management framework and financial policies that are critical to protecting bondholders in the same way that IBRD bondholders are protected.  Market access will be implemented in a fluid and sustainable way.

Also important for us to highlight is an array of benefits from IBRD's 70-year track record of being a leading issuer in the capital markets.  It's the same team that manages IBRD and IDA's funding program, liquidity, credit and market risks, finances and operations, as Jim Yong Kim mentioned. It has the same governance and oversight framework.  It enjoys strong shareholder support, as you saw in the letter by Right Honorable.  It has a highly diversified loan portfolio and strong repayment track record.  And of course, IBRD and IDA share the same mission and development goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Let me expand on some of the elements of IDA's financial strength.  Like IBRD and IDA, the high-quality loan portfolio comes from the perfect creditor status that both institutions enjoy.  It has a strong capital and impressive framework and holds liquid assets of more than 24 months of protected net outflows, as Jim Yong Kim pointed out, of $30 billion of assets.  It has exceptionally strong shareholder support, and this is reflected in both consistent equity increases we have enjoyed over the years, a strong capital base with equity of $158.5 billion.

So, why invest?  IDA offers a safe, financially sound investment.  At $158.5 billion, it has the largest equity amongst its peer groups.  It is AAA rated by Moody's and Standard & Poor's and this, of course, reflects its prudent operational, financial and risk management policies, its strong capital positions and, of course, its strong shareholder support.

It enjoys a 0% Basel risk weighting, which, of course, minimizes the capital requirements that banks have to set aside for holding IDA bonds.  IDA will also offer a broad mix of bond products to both institutional and retail investors, with transactions ranging from large liquid benchmarks to customized transactions.  We believe that IDA is ideal today, given the increasing investor appetite for impact and purpose.

I'd like to complement both the remarks that Right Honorable Lord Bates made and Jim Yong Kim even made about the track record of IDA, in terms of impact.  IDA has a unique mandate to support countries around the world to meet the SDGs.  It is a leader on transparency, openness and accountability.  It is the first model [inaudible] to establish performance-based management of resources and to adopt a robust infrastructure for monitoring results.

In the last six years, IDA has achieved a lot.  Let me highlight a few.  It has enabled 72 million people receive access to improved water resources.  250 [million] children in the poorest countries in the world have been immunized because of IDA and more than 600 million people have received essential health services because of IDA's work.  IDA benefits 39 African countries.

I would also like to share some thoughts about the work that IDA does in South Asia.  There's no doubt that IDA has been instrumental to helping support growth and stability in South Asia, but also around the world.  Two specific examples that I want to share to complement what Right Honorable Lord Bates said is that in Afghanistan, girls' participation in school has risen more than 13 times to 2.7 million girls.  IDA has also provided access to electricity to 16 million people in that part.

IDA's work is extremely important for South Asia as it has almost a quarter of the world's population and one-third of the world's poor.  There are 500 million people still without electricity and 200 million people living in the slums.  Displacements and climate-related threats remain on the rise and many IDA countries are vulnerable to this.

Let me summarize by saying that IDA offers a new opportunity to invest for purpose.  We believe it will help achieve positive social and environmental impact around the world.  We believe that its AAA ratings with the strong track record of nearly 60 years means that it's a financially sound investment.

Before I open the floor for question-and-answer, I would like to share a short film on how your investing in IDA, investing in people will ensure that we have a safe and prosperous world.  Thank you.

[Video is played.]

In Jim's words, thank you kindly. Now, it's time for you guys to take your turn – questions and answer.