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Speeches & TranscriptsApril 12, 2023

Remarks by World Bank Group President to the Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Evolution Roundtable hosted by Secretary Yellen

Thank you, Secretary Yellen, for convening us, your introduction, and leading on this effort.

Since our shareholders called for an Evolution of the World Bank Group, I am very encouraged by the progress we have achieved so far.

I want to thank you – Ministers and Executive Directors – for all the constructive discussions and your active engagement in this process; with me, management, and the World Bank Group teams during the recent months.

The Evolution has been guided by the principles of serving all clients, achieving good development outcomes, preserving financial sustainability, and conducting a transparent and inclusive process.

Without detailing all the elements, let me highlight a few that provide a solid foundation.

First, I’m pleased that we have reaffirmed our goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. There was also wide recognition that progress toward these goals requires a sharper focus on sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness as part of our mission.

Second, we committed to evolving our operating model to strengthen our service to all clients. We discussed proposals to strengthen the country engagement model with stronger diagnostics; integrated knowledge support; greater outcome orientation and capacity building; strengthening our delivery of private sector development and private capital facilitation, which I also laid out recently in my remarks at CSIS; engaging more at the regional and global levels; and strengthening our “One World Bank Group” approach and crisis response capacity.

Finally, I’m also very pleased that we are adapting our financial model to support these changes, building on our track record of financial innovations. We investigated deeply each approach and, with substantial guidance from the Board and capitals, focused our efforts. We are boosting our financing capacity by reducing the Equity-to-Loan ratio from 20% to 19%, piloting the hybrid capital program for capital market investors, and increasing bilateral guarantee limits. These measures will expand IBRD’s financial capacity by up to $50 billion over the next ten years.

Looking into the future, let me also say a few words about IDA. Sustained concessional support through IDA is essential to restoring development progress at scale. IDA is the largest single source of concessional credits and grants to the poorest countries. It is a non-fragmented, efficient platform where every dollar of partner contribution is mobilizing nearly four dollars in financing. I would like to emphasize the need for continued solidarity with the poorest countries, where the impacts of the crisis in development are most acute.

To close, it has been a great honor and responsibility to lead the World Bank Group over the last four years. We took the calls to evolve as a vote of confidence. We have responded with vigor and speed. I am proud of what we delivered so far. The World Bank Group is fully committed to the Evolution. Thank you.


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