A perfect storm of disaster risk is forming at the intersection of population growth, rapid urbanization, and climate change – one that is threatening to upend efforts towards achieving our development goals.
The number of natural disasters has nearly doubled in the last three decades, with the cost of these events increasing substantially– from around $50 billion annually in the 1980’s to just under $200 billion a year in the last decade, with extreme weather events responsible for nearly three-fourths of these losses.
One reason is population growth, 95 percent of which is happening and will continue to happen in developing countries. Another is rapidly expanding cities. Growing stress on infrastructure, utilities, and housing will only exacerbate risks and undo decades of achievements in development and increase the burden on humanitarian efforts.
In a wide-ranging conversation, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Al Jazeera’s Ali Velshi kept returning to a topic that has been rising in importance as it worsens in the world – inequality.
Velshi, the host of a nightly business news program on Al Jazeera America, asked is the middle class growing worldwide? Is it healthy? Does solving inequality require redistribution of wealth? How can the World Bank Group make headway on ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity when there are so many obstacles?
- Spring Meetings 2014
One voice can make a difference. Many can change the world.
From civil rights in America to the global fight against AIDS, history has shown that when people come together in pursuit of a goal, they can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.
We’re urging everyone to come together to help end extreme poverty by 2030.
The World Bank Group, along with other like-minded organizations and individuals, is part of a global movement to change the lives of millions of people who survive on less than $1.25 a day.
Help us do it. Take on a challenge that can help end extreme poverty – whether gender equality, education for all, or fighting climate change. There are many ways you can help.
Be part of the generation that makes poverty history.
Here are some more ways to get involved:
Sign the Global Poverty Project petition calling on countries
to support efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030
When the petition reaches 1 million signatures, it will be sent to the
heads of governments in countries around the world for action.
Often, people ask me how they can get involved in a social movement to end extreme poverty. Not so long ago, I participated in a MOOC – a massive open online course – organized by Wesleyan University called “How to Change the World.”
Wesleyan President Michael Roth asked me for advice to students who wanted to get engaged in a social movement to end poverty. My response is that we’re going to need everyone – doctors, writers, engineers, lawyers, social workers, and visionaries in governments and in the private sector.
So what is it going to take to build a successful social movement to end poverty? What role can you play? Take a minute to watch the video. What I really hope is that it inspires you to get involved, to take it on. Please share this with your friends, and let me know what you think.
Remember when you were a kid and everyone asked: “What do you want to become when you grow up?” What did you answer? Have you fulfilled your dreams?
Most of us aspire to live our lives to the fullest; to develop our talents; to make a difference in the world. Sometimes we may feel lost in the great scheme of things. But as the World Bank Group’s Jim Yong Kim points out: The most successful movements to change the world started with a small group of like-minded people. Think of the movements to find a treatment for AIDS, to promote human rights or to ensure gender equality.
Mobile money has taken off in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, where mobile operators are developing successful services. At the end of 2013, there were 219 mobile money services in 84 countries, demonstrating the extensive reach of this technology. Around 70% of people in the developing world now have access to a mobile phone, which serves as a gateway to financial services for millions of people where physical bank branches either don’t exist or aren’t readily available.
Mobile money services have made it easier and cheaper for people to use financial services, and especially for people to send payments. bKash, for example, is one such company working to “widen the net of financial inclusion” through mobile money services. In Bangladesh, bKash has 8 million registered users who use the service to send payments and remittances for a very low cost. In a country where much of the population lives in remote areas, bKash has had a great deal of success reaching the otherwise underserved with financial services through its network of 76,000 agents.
But payments are just the beginning. Some innovators are now putting digital finance at the core of their business models by allowing people to pay in small increments, often in a pay-as-you-go format, via their mobile money accounts for crucial services. The technology behind mobile money also allows for the expansion of other digital financial services such as credit, insurance or savings.
Laura Tuck, Vice President for the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia region, discusses her trip to Poland, its economy, progress in boosting shared prosperity, and the World Bank's partnership with the country.
Wednesday, April 9