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Speeches & TranscriptsMay 26, 2023

Transcript of Remarks by World Bank Senior Managing Director, Axel van Trotsenburg, at the 2023 Youth Summit

Good morning.

Great to be at this convening today.

Last couple of years when you see how many issues we have been facing, and maybe the one that really transformed all our lives was the COVID crisis, and it affected every country in the world.

It also made us aware that how small this world is, and how vulnerable we are, and what we can do… and how we can best solve this and it’s only by working together, regardless of national boundaries, race, religion.

And that means that actually we need to think differently about our problems in this world, namely, that there are global problems but we need to have also local approaches.

This organization was set up to reconstruct Europe after the Second World War, and then became a primarily development organization.

And unfortunately, over the last two decades, we have had to focus increasingly again on fragility because so many countries have been affected by conflict, by war

Many countries are still left behind not only because they are started much later with their program development programs, but also because there are obstacles. And one of the more prominent ones is climate change.

  • Africa is only responsible for maybe barely 3% of the greenhouse emissions, yet it's disproportionately carrying the cost of climate change. So that will require much more action.

The Bank has been developing programs to massively scaling up our support.

  • Just to give you a sense, over the last decade, Bank provided some support in the order of a bit over $40 billion/year –compared to the last three years, we did on average more than $70 billion.
  • Now that is good that we scaled up.
  • But the challenge is bigger, and that means that the resources needed are more; we need to mobilize resources, we will also need to mobilize people.

We need to act –

  • People need to act and that cannot be just with governments… but with the private sector, we need to have civil society and particularly you have to work with you (youth).


  • Because in the next couple of years, you will assume important positions wherever you're living, and you can help shape it. But the clock is ticking against you.

Because climate change --  we cannot wait; we have to act. Motivation – we need to have drive; we need to have passion.

There are good examples that we can do it.

I still believe that.  But when you see the news, it is full of.. the bad news. There is one crisis after another.

You can get discouraged.

But we can actually do is  transform – and that needs action not only in terms of advocacy but advocacy.

So use this Summit to be energized. To know you're not alone. To know that whatever we need to solve  these days, we need to do it together.

This summit brings people together, and hopefully you will connect with each other. And at the end of the day, it will need to be translated into the mindsets of people and hopefully you will talk with others and then create a movement of action.

That is overdue.  We are in an in a world where we think we need all to work together. That can be at the United Nations. It can be also by governments or by foundations. We don't care as long as we push the agenda to act and fight a passive attitude, (fight an attitude of) just waiting.

We cannot wait longer; we need to act; we need to act fast.

We are prepared to be as ambitious as possible – if we do that, we have a good fighting chance to face the challenges and make a better world. 

So we need engagement. Action.  Need to push that as hard as we can.

It’s great to see you and let’s keep up the good fight.


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