World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick unofficially opened the 2010 Annual Meetings this morning with a press conference that touched on a sluggish global economic recovery, currency tensions, and upcoming replenishment for IDA, the Bank’s Fund for the Poorest.
“As far as the crisis is concerned, the world economy is recovering--that is the good news--but it is recovering at too slow a pace to bring down unemployment significantly, particularly in a number of the developed countries,” Zoellick said. “And whenever you have high unemployment, you have risks of other tensions.”
But growth in developing countries remains a “bright spot,” he added. Developing countries are expected to account for one-half of global growth in coming years.
The Bank has provided $140 billion in financing to developing countries since the financial crisis began in mid-2008, and can do more, he said, if donor countries ensure IDA is replenished later this year. “We could immunize 200 million more children, extend health services to over 30 million people, give access to improved water sources to 80 million more people,” he said.
As part of a changing, multipolar world, the Bank has moved to make itself more transparent and reach out to new partners. Several events and announcements this week underscore the institution’s commitment to that shift, including the public release of 4,000 indicators; the launch of the Apps for Development competition; and the Oct. 7-8 Open Forum—a special event offering online discussion and video coverage of the Annual Meetings.
“So we are trying to throw open the doors to how we do business, and we hope others will follow, because in a networked development architecture, this will be how we need to work,” Zoellick said.
Photo Credit: Ryan Rayburn