Zoellick: Globalization Must Benefit the World’s Poor

For many, Globalization provides huge opportunities, creating staggering wealth in places where it was unimaginable in the past. "Yet exclusion, grinding poverty, and environmental damage create dangers. The ones that suffer most are those who have the least to start with – indigenous peoples, women in developing countries, the rural poor, Africans, and their children.” These words were uttered by the current World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.

A few excerpts:

In discussing how the World Bank Group can support developing countries, Zoellick pointed out: "It is the purpose of the World Bank Group to assist countries to help themselves by catalyzing the capital and policies through a mix of ideas and experience, development of private market opportunities, and support for good governance and anti-corruption -- spurred by our financial resources.”

“It is the purpose of the Bank Group to advance ideas about international projects and agreements on trade, finance, health, poverty, education, and climate change so that they can benefit all, especially the poor seeking new opportunities.”

“Inclusive globalization is also a matter of self-interest. Poverty breeds instability, disease and devastation of common resources and the environment,” he said.

Zoellick said the Bank Group should be expanding the frontiers of thinking about policy and markets and pioneering new possibilities.

In laying out his vision for the World Bank Group, Mr. Zoellick suggested six strategic themes:

Helping to overcome poverty and spur sustainable growth in the poorest countries, especially in Africa.

1. Addressing the special challenges of states coming out of conflict.
2. Developing a competitive menu of “development solutions” for middle income countries, involving customized services as well as finance.
3. Playing a more active role with regional and global “public goods” on issues crossing national borders, including climate change, HIV/Aids, malaria, and aid for trade.
4. Supporting those advancing development and opportunity in the Arab world.
5. Fostering a “knowledge and learning” agenda across the World Bank Group to support its role as a “brain trust” of applied experience.

Zoellick said the Bank was also strengthening its work with countries on good governance and anticorruption, the foundation to improving development.

To help the poorest countries, Zoellick announced the World Bank Group was leading the way by pledging $3.5 billion of its own resources to the International Development Association (IDA), which provides grants and interest free loans for the 81 poorest countries. This is more than double the $1.5 billion the Bank Group pledged to the prior IDA replenishment in 2005.
World Bank alone cannot spur all the benefits for the world's poorest. Zoellick correctly "challenged the world's developed countries to follow the Bank’s lead and increase their support for the world's poorest people, especially in Africa and South and East Asia."

Zoellick: Globalization Must Benefit the World’s Poor