Skip to Main Navigation
Speeches & TranscriptsOctober 13, 2022

2022 Annual Meetings Press Conference: Opening Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass

DAVID THEIS: Good morning. Great to see you all in person; first time in a couple of years. So, glad to get started.

I'm David Theis, the World Bank's Press Secretary, and thank you for joining the 2022 Annual Meetings Press Conference with World Bank Group President, David Malpass. Mr. Malpass will give opening remarks and then we will turn to questions.

And because Mr. Malpass values transparency, I should also add that if you're interested in following his remarks, comments on global policy, readouts from country meetings, you should follow him on Twitter @DavidMalpassWBG.

Thanks to those who've sent questions in advance online. I will try to get to those as well as everyone in the room. And if I can ask, please keep to one question per outlet, and identify yourself and your outlet before asking your question. Thanks very much. Hope everyone is keeping well.

Mr. Malpass.

DAVID MALPASS: Thanks, David. Good morning, everybody.

The global environment, as you know, is very challenging. In fact, it's grim for developing countries. I think there's a crisis facing development. We've put out our poverty numbers last week, showing 70 million more people in extreme poverty and median income going down by four-tenths of a percent. That's the first decline in the records that the World Bank's been keeping since 1990. The growth rate – we've lowered our 2023 growth forecast from 3 percent to 1.9 percent for global growth. That's dangerously close to a world recession, and a world recession could happen under certain circumstances.

All of the problems that people have taken note of, the inflation problem, the interest rate rises, and the cutoff of capital flows to developing world hits the poor hard. That's a huge challenge for the World Bank. We are focused on helping people get ahead in developing countries, and right now there have been reversals.

The countries, of course, are all different. We'll have a discussion today of certain countries. It's not monolithic at all. Some countries have already been raising their interest rates and may be reaching a point where they don't have to keep raising. Some countries have done one kind of subsidy versus another kind of subsidy. Fiscal policies are different throughout. Also very importantly, some countries are commodity producers and some are commodity buyers. We've in general, advocated for countries that --as they address the crisis -- they try to have targeted responses. That means support for the poor; that means interventions that are targeted; and also that there's an exit strategy, that they are temporary.

I wanted to mention several things going on and I won't elaborate and then we can do it in questions.

One is the buildup of debt for developing countries, and I went through why that is: interest rates up; the amount of debt itself is up; and their currencies tend to be weakening. The depreciation of the currency adds to the burden of the debt. We have a fifth wave of debt crisis facing the developing world.

Second, there's been a lot of discussion on Ukraine. The World Bank is in the middle. It's the primary conduit for the transfer of funds to the administrative side of the Ukrainian Government, and we had good conversations yesterday on that. We've set up yet another trust fund so that we can absorb money from various parts of the world, donor community.

Very important what's going on in education. As you know, learning poverty is up. World Bank has kept extensive data on the reversals going on in education. We had an important event to discuss the principles of getting out of that crisis.

On climate, we've had extensive interaction. As you may know, the World Bank is the biggest funder of climate action. We are proposing at these meetings a new trust fund called SCALE that would allow the world--the global community to put funding into global public goods. That's the connection that needs to be set up within the global system to actually have impact on greenhouse gas emission reduction. We're putting out the CCDRs, the Country Climate and Development Reports, at a rapid clip. China's came out yesterday; Vietnam's, earlier in September; and a host of others. We've done 10 countries and there will be another 20 by the time of COP27, which we're building up for. We were very pleased to have a major contribution from the U.S. on the Clean Technology Fund, which is one of the climate trust funds.

That's it on my list. To summarize, the world is facing very challenging environment from the advanced economies, and that has serious implications, dangers, for the developing countries. My deep concern is that these conditions and trends might persist into 2023 and 2024.



    loader image


    loader image