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World Bank reinstates commitment to ending extreme poverty

May 30, 2016 By Gabriel Benjamin in Antalya, Turkey

The World Bank said on Friday, 27 May in Antayla, Turkey, that it was committed to ending extreme poverty in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Speaking during the Opening Plenary of the Comprehensive High-Level Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IoPA) for the LDCs, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank Group, Ms, Mulyani Indrawati said the bank was committed to ending extreme poverty, as well as contributing to global economic growth and prosperity.

According to Ms. Mulyani, LDCs have enormous potentials, adding that the bank sees them as a strong partner, central to their mission.

“We are fundamentally committed to achieving the goals slated out in Istanbul five years ago. This meeting comes at a critical time, with the introduction of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our sheer commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030.

“The World Bank, with the public and private sector, will bring a unique and powerful set of services to deliver results in the 77 poorest countries in the world. We present a path forward for the world’s poorest countries,” she said.

The International development association (IoDA) is a critical tool of the international community to help address the challenges of LDCs. IoDA has provided over US$77billion in grants and concessional financing to LDCs.

“Within 2011 and 2015, the period under the MidTerm Review, IoDA provided more than US$73 billion in financing to LDCs across sectors and borders to deliver solution to the toughest challenges confronting the LDCs,” noted the bank’s chief.

She further said that in just three years, solar power has been provided to 3.7 million people in rural communities in Bangladesh and about 50,000 homes are still been connected each month.

The IoDA has also provided US$84 billion to support education, health and access to education in the country.

She said Ethiopia has gotten a US$6 billion in financing, which has helped fund the distribution of 78 million text books to school children.

The bank has also contributed US$2.2 billion to the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide clean portable drinking water for over one million people in just one year.

“We have facilitated the recruitment and training of five million teachers in the LDCs.

“Over 15 million people have access to clean drinking water in the LDCs.

“We have immunized over 200 million children and have provided essential health services to over 400 million people. We have constructed or improve over 100,000km or roads in LDCs. But There’s an urgent need to do more,” admitted Ms. Mulyani.

Although the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen below 10%, an estimated over 700 million people still live among the ranks of the poorest, which number is expected to triple by 2030.

Despite the continued weakening and volatile global economy, low quality prices, climate change challenges, growing geo-political tension and conflict, which are increasing the volatility, the former Finance Minister of Indonesia in the Second United Indonesia Cabinet said she was optimistic that making progress is fundamental to ending extreme poverty and achieving the global development goals.

“We at the World Bank are committed to help address these challenges across all fronts. We are going to invest in inclusive society that promotes equality of opportunities and growth. IoDA, which is known for his response to severe shock and crises, will continue to finance countries and help them to accessing essential services, build stronger social and political institution, and safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.

“We are supporting Guinea and Sierra Leone to respond and recover from the devastating Ebola crises. Also we will work hard to see that these counties [are] govern effectively and fairly, provide services and securities to their citizens, create environment that will foster job creations and economic growth,” said Ms. Mulyani.

On gender equality in the LCDs, the World Bank Chief noted that: “It is important…we are strongly committed to see our clients reverse genders disparity, by getting girls into schools, and helping women access finances for small scales business.”

She also said that the World Bank was expanding domestic resources and catalysing plans for private sector led growth to bring a positive spillover to the global communities.

Although LDCs account for 12% of the world’s population, they generate only less than 2% of global GDP, with per capital income less than US$850 million.

“This is unacceptable and should be changed. We have come together to discuss financing for LDCs…this discussion is under way and will come in December

2016,” she said.

“LDCs need strong concessional financing and support. The World Bank will continue to do its part to improve the LDCs both financially and operationally,” she assured.