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April 2009

Wrapping up the 2009 Spring Meetings.

Sameer Vasta's picture

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

The 2009 Spring Meetings have now come to a close. We hope that you enjoyed getting a quick look at some of the events and announcements coming out of this year's Meetings, and that this blog was a useful way to get quick snippets of information and insight from this past weekend's proceedings.

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominiqu Strauss Kahn, Managing Director. International Monetary Fund. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank This blog will stay live in its current state (as will the Spanish version) until the next round of World Bank meetings, most probably the Annual Meetings taking place this fall. Until then, feel free to go through the archives, or click through the daily highlights (in the sidebar to your right) to get targeted information about some of the big events and announcements that took place.

I also encourage you to visit our Videos section on the blog, where you'll be able to find all the short interviews we did with some of the people attending the Spring Meetings, asking them about the Bank's role in the current financial crisis. Feel free to embed those videos on your own sites if you find them interesting — and if you can, let us know when you do!

I'll sign off now, but if you have any questions or feedback about the blog and why we decided to pilot it for this set of Meetings, feel free to use the contact form or leave us a comment. Thanks!

African ministers address financial crisis

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At a recent press conference, three African finance chiefs chastised international credit rating agencies for failing to forecast the global financial crisis and challenged international financial institutions to do a better job of monitoring the global economy and of holding rich and developing countries accountable in the same way.

The Ministers from Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania spoke about the crisis and its effect on Africa. Mustafa Mkulo, Tanzania’s Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, said:

"This crisis has come when African governments have taken broad based measures to reform their economies, followed by significant achievements. It is now threatening to wipe out our gains of the past ten years and disrupt all our plans for further progress."

More information:

Bank to give Mexico $205 million for swine flu

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Augustin Carstens, Development Committee Chair, Finance Minister, MexicoAt the Development Committee closing press conference, Bank President Bob Zoellick together with Agustín Carstens, who is Mexico's Finance Minister as well as Development Committee Chair, announced that the Bank is giving Mexico more than $205 million to help the country fight the Swine Flu virus.

According to news reports, the virus has killed up to 81 people in Mexico city and a sickened more than a thousand people since the outbreak began.

“We're extremely grateful for the prompt response by the World Bank -- such promptness is always very, very appreciated,” said Carstens. “But beyond resources, what is also important is all the experience that the World Bank has accumulated in precisely having assisted other countries in this type of situation."

The project will be fast-tracked so that funds can be disbursed within 3-5 weeks.

Spring Meetings conclude with Development Committee press conference

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April 26, 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Press Briefing. (l-r) Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank Group President; Augustin Carstens, Development Committee Chair, Finance Minister, Mexico; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

The Spring Meetings 2009 finished earlier today with the final Development Committee press conference, held by Development Committee Chair, Minister Agustín Carstens, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

(l-r) Augustin Carstens Developemnt Committee Chair, Finance Minister, Mexico; Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Speaking on behalf of the Development Committee, Carstens in his opening remarks stressed that "All members of the Development Committee recognized that this is the critical time for developing countries. Impacts from the financial crisis are hitting them hard...The financial crisis is turning into a human and development calamity. Many people have already been driven into absolute poverty."

"In this sense, the Development Committee called on countries to translate their commitments into concerted action and additional resources.  We welcome member countries' commitments to a substantial increase in resources for the IMF and we urged all donors to accelerate delivery of commitments to increase aid, and to also consider going beyond existing commitments. We welcome the leadership of the Bank Group and IMF in helping developing countries respond to the crisis,” he said.

 

In his remarks, Zoellick stressed that “there is a widespread recognition that the world faces an unprecedented economic crisis, poor people could suffer the most, and that we must continue to act in real time to prevent a human catastrophe.”    

“Before this crisis, the Millennium Development Goals on overcoming poverty by 2015 already looked like a stretch. Our latest research shows that most of these eight globally agreed goals are unlikely to be met.”
 
“No one knows how long this crisis will last. We also do not know the pace of the recovery. The Bank’s finances have been prudently run and we are therefore currently in a strong position to help our partner countries,” Zoellick said.

  • See the Bank’s Financial Crisis webpage to learn more about the Bank’s initiatives to help poor countries deal with the crisis.

 

Improving capacity building in post-conflict and fragile settings

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Young children in school. Ghana. Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World BankThree African ministers shared their experience with Bank officials on Thursday when they met to discuss ways to develop capacity in post-conflict countries.

 “We are here to listen—tell us how we can better assist you. And please, be frank,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank Africa Region Vice President.

Ezekwesili asked the ministers from Liberia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss capacity development efforts in their countries, and to identify what has and has not worked, and how donors can provide more effective support for human development, infrastructure, and public sector reforms.

Several common themes emerged from the ministers’ interventions, including:

  • Donors prioritizing support for primary and secondary education, and not higher education
  • Donors pressing a “one size fits all” approach on countries, trying to replicate programs that were successful elsewhere
  • The failure by expatriate advisors in civil service posts to transfer their knowledge and skills to local counterparts
  • Tension among returning members of the Diaspora and local populations that stayed behind, partly around incentive structures for civil service
  • An urgent need to deliver skills-training and create job opportunities for young ex-combatants
     

South Africa. Photo: Trevor Samson / World BankAugustine Ngafaun, Minister of Finance for Liberia, outlined the enormity of the challenges facing his country, which has “75 percent of the educational facilities destroyed” combined with a “massive brain drain” as a result of professionals fleeing during Liberia’s recent conflict.

“We have very few doctors, teachers and hardly any engineers,” said Ngafaun, Liberia's Minister of Finance.

He also noted that, despite the importance of the mining sector for Liberia’s growth, there are not even five geologists in the entire country.

Rwanda’s Finance Minister James Musoni noted that even though the reconstruction challenges were daunting, his country has made significant progress since the 1994 genocide. He said it is crucial for the donor community to understand the context in which each country operates, as in some cases the political leadership may not be ready.

Ezekwesili stressed the need to build confidence in all sectors, pointing out that “development solutions work only to the extent that the capacities of the nation-state, the private sector, and civil society are strong.”

“The lack of capacity is magnified by the stress of the post conflict environment,” Ezekwesili said. 

Story: Improving Capacity Building in Post-conflict and Fragile Settings—African Ministers Share their Experience

Youth Unemployment in Africa

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Laborer working on an irrigation project. Tanzania. Photo: Scott Wallace / World BankExperts on youth and employment from Ghana, Kenya, Mali, and Colombia met on Saturday as the Spring Meetings got underway to discuss the growing problem of youth unemployment in Africa. The high-level panel, chaired by Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for the Africa Region, agreed that there are no easy solutions to the problem.


“Youth in urban areas are looking for jobs alongside thousands of others from the same schools, while rural youth are flooding into the cities looking for work,” said Sanoussi Toure, the Minister of Finance of Mali. “This is a tragedy. Our policies favor investment in education and training, but this investment has not led to job creation.”

Key points that came out of the meeting included:

  • There are no easy solutions to the problem of youth unemployment. 
  • Youth employment has to be part of the growth strategy of every African country.
  • Employment policies need to favor investment in education and training.

 

Portrait of woman. Kenya. Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank The panel also included Mauricio Cárdenas, former Colombian Minister of Transport and Economic Planning. Cárdenas talked about the outcomes of two youth programs Colombia put in place during his country's economic crisis in the late 1990s, when external shocks drove unemployment from 10 to 20 percent, and youth unemployment to 30 percent.

It is clear that youth unemployment in Africa needs to be addressed from many entry points, Ezekwesili said in her concluding remarks.

“The profile of unemployed youth has to enter the way we think, just as gender has. Youth need to be effectively targeted in everything we do, so that they will have a stake in the future,” Ezekwesili said.

Story: Youth Unemployment a Major Challenge for African Countries

World Bank Group and development partners team up on infrastructure investment

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Flanked by the finance and development ministers of France and Germany, World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick launched two initiatives today that together are expected to mobilize more than $55 billion in financing for infrastructure projects over the next three years.

The multibillion dollar initiatives—the Infrastructure Recovery and Assets (INFRA) platform and Infrastructure Crisis Facility—were created to address the falloff in funding for the construction of roads, water systems, power generation and distribution, and other critical infrastructure.

There is no doubt infrastructure plays a huge role in economic growth and development, Zoellick said.

“In this crisis, we will need more and more to identify creative ways to mobilize additional financing. This facility sends an important market signal,” encouraging the private sector to continue infrastructure investment and development.

April 25, 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. (l-r) Christine Lagarde, Minister of Finance, France; Roger Morier, World Bank; Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Hannfried von Hindenburg, IFC; Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Development Minister, Germany. Credit: Simone McCourtie, World Bank

France and Germany became the first to sign on to the Infrastructure Crisis Facility with commitments of about $660 million through German development bank KfW and roughly $1.3 billion through French development bank Proparco.

INFRA is designed to help countries offset the negative effects of the financial crisis on their infrastructure services and investment programs, with up to $45 billion available over the next three years. Assistance will be global, but Africa is expected to see a large share of the funding.

The Infrastructure Crisis Facility, administered by IFC, a private sector branch of the Bank Group, is expected to attract more than $10 billion to help bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

At today’s signing, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul appealed to industrialized countries to support the initiative and take into account the situation in developingFrench Finance Minister Christine Lagarde countries. “They’re not responsible for the crisis. We have a special responsibility to be at their side.”

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde added: This is a time “when we can put our money where our mouth is and commit to deliver…I think the World Bank has done an outstanding job dealing with issues that are difficult. This is a good illustration of how projects should be conducted. They should be focused where they can actually make a difference.”

______

On a related note, I caught up earlier today with the Bank’s director for energy, transport and water, Jamal Saghir, who said the Bank’s Board has approved $9 billion in infrastructure projects already this fiscal year. That puts the Bank 47 percent ahead of the amount of infrastructure funding approved this time last year.

Saghir gave a shout-out to staff, who he credited with working hard to speed up project implementation to respond to the crisis.

For more information

 

G7 and G24 Meet in Washington DC

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G24 Discusses Financial Crisis

The Ministers of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G24) met in Washington yesterday to discuss the global financial crisis and its widespread impact.

Following the meeting, they released a communique that highlighted, among other issues, the fact that the current crisis was having a "disproportionate effect on developing countries through various channels, including falling prices of primary commodities, sharply contracting exports, declining remittances, negative net private capital flows, and credit crunch affecting many countries"

You can download the full communique from the G24 meeting here.

G7 Addresses Recession and Downturn

The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met in Washington DC yesterday, amidst what they claim is "the the deepest and most widespread economic downturn and financial stress witnessed in decades."

You can read the full statement by the G7 here.

Global Monitoring Report 2009 Released

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Global Monitoring Report 2009 Press Briefing. Justin Lin, WB Chief Economist. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

Yesterday, the IMF and the World Bank released the 2009 Global Monitoring Report, saying that the global financial crisis is imperiling attainment of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and creating an emergency for development.

Justin Lin, World Bank Chief Economist, spoke about the crisis at the launch of the report:

"Worldwide, we have an enormous loss of wealth and financial stability. Millions more people will lose their jobs in 2009, and urgent funding must be provided for social safety nets, infrastructure, and small businesses in poor countries, for a sustainable recovery."

For more information:

Meetings home in on regional impact and solutions to crisis

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Regional finance ministers and development practitioners teamed up today to brainstorm solutions to the troubling economic crisis.

Young money changer on bank of Senegal River, the border between Senegal and Mauritania. Photo: Scott Wallace / World Bank Amid World Bank warnings that Africa is likely to be the worst-hit region by the global financial crisis, African finance ministers and Bank staff met today to determine the way forward in dealing with the impact of the global financial crisis on African countries.

Hosted by the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, Shanta Devarajan, and chaired by vice president for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, the meeting challenged participants to “think outside the box” in determining solutions to the negative economic, humanitarian and political effects the crisis already is having on the continent.

“The major challenge facing African countries and their development partners is how to design appropriate policies that would respond to this crisis,” Ezekwesili said.

She said sound macro-economic policies put forward by Africans over the last decade, which have, in part, led to significant growth rates, are now being questioned.

Flexibility, diversification, and regional solutions are key to combating the crisis, meeting participants agreed. Uganda Central Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumasiime-Mutabile advised flexibility of markets, of regimes, and of policies in order to stem the force of the crisis.

Bank to Mobilize over $7bn for Health, Education

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High school girls taking notes. Suapur, Bangladesh.Photo: Scott Wallace/ World Bank The Bank said today it is mobilizing over $7 billion for health and education to help poor countries battle threats to their social services during the crisis. The new health and education numbers follow an announcement earlier this week that its investments in social protection programs, including social safety nets, are expected to rise dramatically for 2009-2010 to $12 billion.

As part of this announcement, the Bank released a report titled, Averting a Human Crisis During the Global Downturn, which examines how previous financial downturns affected countries’ social protection programs.

Crisis Can Affect Social Services Programs

Evidence from previous crises in Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand, and Russia shows that governments were forced to cut health services as a result of shrinking budgets and that returning health spending to pre-crisis levels took up to 10-15 years to achieve, according to the report.

"We cannot afford a 'lost' generation of people as a result of this crisis," said Joy Phumaphi, the World Bank's Vice President for Human Development and former Health Minister for Botswana. "It is essential that developing countries and aid donors act now to protect and expand their spending on health, education and other basic social services and target these efforts to make sure they reach the poorest and most vulnerable groups."

AIDS Treatment Programs in Jeopardy

An AIDS orphan lies in a bed made from a hanging mosquito net and drinks a bottle of milk. Photo: Masaru Goto / World Bank The report also warns that according to preliminary findings from 69 countries, which offer treatment to 3.4 million people on antiretroviral treatment (ART), suggests that 8 countries now face shortages of antiretroviral drugs or other disruptions to AIDS treatment. Twenty-two countries, home to more than 60 percent of people worldwide on AIDS treatment , expect to face disruptions over the course of the year.

"We cannot afford a 'lost' generation of people as a result of this crisis," Phumaphi said. "It is essential that developing countries and aid donors act now to protect and expand their spending on health, education and other basic social services and target these efforts to make sure they reach the poorest and most vulnerable groups."

Development Committee Papers

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Earlier this week, the Development Committee released the papers they will discuss at their meeting on Sunday, April 26.

Among other issues, they will discuss the current global economic crisis and "voice" (ensuring people from all parts of the world have a say in key issues that affect them).

The Development Committee (DC) is a forum of the World Bank and the IMF that facilitates intergovernmental consensus-building on development issues. Its mandate is to advise the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the IMF on critical development issues and on the financial resources required to promote economic development in developing countries.
Log in on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. to watch the press briefing with DC Chair, Minister Agustín Carstens, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Development Committee

Papers:

BBC World holds debate on global recession at World Bank headquarters

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BBC World Debates

 
BBC World yesterday hosted a debate at World Bank headquarters in Washingtonon on how the world's poorest are being affected by the global economic downturn and what can be done to avert a major international human disaster. While the rich world pours billions of dollars into banks and companies, why can’t it spare more for the poorest nations now suffering the effects of the downturn, asked BBC Host Zeinab Badawi.

The five-person panel–including World Bank President Robert Zoellick, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Mozambique Prime Minister Luisa Dias Diogo, Indian economic planner Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and activist Bob Geldof—agreed that a solution to the crisis can’t be business as usual and needs to come now.

Bob Geldolf at BBC World DebatesUnlike the tsunami of 2004, the victims of the financial crisis aren’t so easy to visualize, said Wieczorek-Zeul, making it harder for governments to commit aid money. But there are victims. An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 children will die annually as a result of the crisis, she noted.

Zoellick stressed that for those in the developing world, the crisis isn’t a matter of losing your financial cushion—it’s a matter of eating, of going to school. And the impact won’t end when the crisis ends; it will be felt over a generation.

Responding to the crisis with economic isolationism and protectionism will only hurt everyone, especially the world’s poorest, Zoellick added.

Prime Minister Diogo warned that if we don’t act, there is a potential for instability. “Instability increases nervousness… poverty increases conflict,” said Geldof.

A number of panelists noted that the G20 meeting in London last month was the beginning of the basis for a new global architecture.

“We’re living through an historic period,” said Geldof. “It could all still collapse. There must be new rules for a new world. We must include the most vulnerable on this planet. If not, the 21st Century is up for grabs.”

“We all agree that a global problem requires a global solution with global ownership,” said Ahluwalia.

The debate airs on BBC World on Saturday, April 25.

(More photos at the Spring Meetings Flickr set.)

Development banks join together to provide funding for Latin America and the Caribbean

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Pouring and weighing fresh milk. Colombia. Photo: © Edwin Huffman / World BankThis past Wednesday, leading development banks joined efforts to provide as much as US$90 billion during the next two years in a joint effort to spur economic growth in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the World Bank Group (IBRD, IFC and MIGA), Corporacion Andina de Fomento, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration are all working together to explore new opportunities to protect the economic and social gains achieved in the region during the last five years.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick spoke about the importance of this joint effort:

"Latin America and the Caribbean have achieved substantial economic and social progress over the last five years and we must ensure that this is not lost because of the external shock of the global crisis. We need to avoid a social and human crisis."

For more information:

Meetings Center: Available in Spanish

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Today, we had the pleasure of launching our Spanish version of the World Bank Meetings Center, El blog de las reuniones del Banco Mundial.

The Spanish version of the site, like the English, will feature links to press releases and stories, and also include commentary and short video interviews.

You can access the Spanish site by clicking on the "Espanol" on the top right of any page.

Bank President unveils plans to deal with fallout of economic crisis

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World Bank President Robert B. ZoellickSpeaking at a news conference this morning ahead of the start of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Bank President Robert B. Zoellick hit on the need to address the second and third waves of economic fallout being felt in developing countries.

“First and foremost we need to ensure that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. When financial crises hit Latin America in the 1980s and in Asia in the 1990s…basic health, nutrition and education budgets were cut back severely. This time we must ensure that governments can protect targeted social expenditures and finance effective safety nets,” Zoellick said.

Nor can infrastructure be neglected, he said, citing the long-term negative consequences of slashing infrastructure investment during past crises. To help promote investment in roads, electricity, telecommunications, etc.--as a means of creating jobs and spurring economic growth--Zoellick said the Bank is planning a massive infrastructure initiative, to be formally launched on Saturday.

Zoellick also highlighted the Bank’s plans to boost support for agriculture—increasing lending from $4 billion in 2008 to $12 billion over the next two years to help ensure food security.

    

See more photos at the Spring Meetings 2009 Flickr set.

Watch President Zoellick's opening remarks at the news conference below:

Justin Lin on developing economies at The Economist

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During the G20 Summit two weeks ago, World Bank Senior Vice President & Chief Economist Justin Lin spoke to The Economist about the global financial crisis and the importance of social safety nets.

You can listen to the interview using the player below:

You can also download the interview here, or listen to it directly on The Economist website.

Bank’s youth blog looks at impact of financial crisis on young people

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How is the financial crisis impacting youth around the world? Youthink!, the Bank’s website dedicated to kids and young adults, asked its cadre of youth bloggers from around the world to answer that question.

"Even if the situation ahead of us is really bad, what good would it do to stress about it? It’s more productive to focus on the good things and keep on working towards our goals as a society…" said contributing blogger María Rodríguez of Colombia.

Bringing together seven young bloggers from across the world, the Youthink! blog features posts about topics as wide-reaching but impactful as climate change to health in the developing world. Since launching in January 2009, Youthink! bloggers have managed to spark lively debates and discussions among the site’s audience.

The first batch of Youthink! bloggers are:

 

A 2006 Webby Award winner, Youthink! aims to inform youth on development issues and inspire them to get involved. The site contains a section for educators, and most of the content is now available in French, Spanish, and Chinese.

This Year's World Development Indicators released

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The Bank released today the latest edition of the World Development Indicators, an annual Bank flagship. The WDI provides a comprehensive overview of development drawing on data from the World Bank and more than 30 partners.

"The WDI is the statistical benchmark that will help measure both the impact of the crisis and, eventually, of global recovery," says Shaida Badiee, director of the Bank's Development Data Group.

Some of this year's highlight focus on the economy, spread of new technology, migration, energy and climate change.

For example, did you know that India leads all countries in exports of information communication technology (ICT) services? ICT sector exports account for about 42% of total service exports. Ok, so that was an easy one.

But did you know that energy use has doubled since 1971? The United States, Japan, Germany, Russia, China and India consume most energy, and are the largest emmiters of carbon dioxide?

More information:

World Bank opens doors to dialogue with CSOs, press

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Civil Society Forum

The World Bank Group, together with the IMF, opens its doors on Thurs., April 23, for dialogue with the 400+ CSO leaders from around the world who have registered for the Spring Meetings.

The four-day Civil Society Policy Forum will bring together Bank and Fund staff, CSO representatives, government officials, and others to exchange views on a variety of topics ranging from the global economic crisis and climate change, to information disclosure.

Find out more about the Forum and the schedule of events at the Civil Society Policy Forum page.

Press Room Opens

In addition, some 800 accredited journalists have registered for the meetings. Some have found a temporary home at the Bank/IMF press room, which opened yesterday. Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting the online application for press accreditation.

If you're a member of the press and haven't yet completed the online application for accreditation, be sure to do that here.

Critical investments in safety nets to rise

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Group Managing DirectorIn light of the global economic crisis, the World Bank announced today that its investments in safety nets and other social protection programs in health and education are projected to triple to $12 billion over the next two years.

Additionally, the Bank also increased its fast track facility for the food price crisis to US$2 billion from US$1.2 billion. As World Bank Group Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala explains:

"The continuing risky economic environment, combined with continuing volatility for food prices, means for poor people the food crisis is far from over. Many poor countries have not benefitted from some moderation of food price spikes in global markets. The decision to expand the facility will help ensure fast track measures are in place for continued rapid response to help countries."

More information about today's announcements:

Looking back at Spring Meetings 2008

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World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and the founding President of the Center for Global Development Nancy Birdsall

The 2009 World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings are about to get under way in a few days. Before they do, here's a quick look at some of the big stories from last year's Meetings.

Global Economy, Human Development Goals Top the Agenda
The 2008 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank opened amid rising concerns about the impact of the credit crunch on the global economy and uneven progress towards such human development goals as wiping out hunger and malnutrition.

Global Monitoring Report 2008
At the halfway mark to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline of 2015, World Bank economist Zia Qureshi said the world had not made the necessary progress, but success is still possible given certain conditions.

Ministers, Bank President, Tout Women’s Empowerment as Key Development Goal
World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick announced several measures the World Bank Group plans to take to boost women’s empowerment at a seminar on ways to bridge gender gaps.

Food Price Crisis Imperils 100 Million in Poor Countries
The surge in food prices could push 100 million people into deeper poverty, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington.

Those are some of the stories from the 2008 Spring Meetings. Keep posted here for more information and stories from the 2009 Meetings

Above photo: World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and the founding President of the Center for Global Development Nancy Birdsall at the 2008 Spring Meetings — © Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank.

Welcome to the Meetings Center!

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Welcome to the World Bank Meetings Center!

This space provides links and inside access to the information, ideas, and issues being discussed at various events such as the IMF and World Bank spring and annual meetings.

Spring Meetings 2009

Each Spring, the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee hold meetings to discuss progress on the work of the Fund and Bank.

We're launching this site a week before the Spring Meetings begin so that we can start providing you with some original content that will let you take a look at the important issues that are being discussed over the nex week. In the next few days, expect coverage of major Meetings-related events, photos and videos from the proceedings, and even various ways for you to get involved and have your say.

We're looking forward to an exciting few days ahead, and even more excited to be able to share these events with you.