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Pledging to ‘Bend the Arc of History,’ Kim Outlines Plan for a ‘Solutions Bank’

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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim laid out his vision October 12 for transforming the institution into a “solutions bank” that uses evidence and experience to solve problems and listens more closely to the people coping with economic and social challenges in their daily life.

“… It is time to move from dreaming of a world free of poverty to achieving it,” Dr. Kim said at the opening plenary session of the 2012 Annual Meetings in Tokyo. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Bank’s 188 member countries and Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito.

“It is time to bend the arc of history. With global solidarity underpinned by a relentless drive for results, we can, we must, and we will build shared prosperity and end poverty,” Dr. Kim said.

Addressing the full membership of the World Bank for the first time as president, Dr. Kim said the Bank will establish a “clear and measurable bottom line” including “ambitious targets” for ending poverty and building shared prosperity, streamlined procedures and processes, and incentives for people working for or on behalf of the Bank who can bring results on the ground.

The plan includes strengthening evidence-based approaches to development by ensuring “virtually all developing countries have timely and accurate data,” said Dr. Kim. He added he would update the Development Committee on progress at the Spring Meetings in six months.

The Annual Meetings are taking place amid continued uncertainty in the global economy. Dr. Kim urged countries not to pull back from supporting growth in developing countries, but to “come together” to accelerate progress and make it possible for more people to participate in and benefit from development.

“If we are willing to make the effort, we can virtually eliminate extreme poverty. This goal is not farfetched – it is achievable. Together we can make it happen,” Dr. Kim said. He added the effort must involve those most affected.

“Through decades of development work I’ve learned that the best solutions to economic and social problems often lie with the individuals and communities coping with these challenges in their daily life. They have been my greatest teachers. We must listen to and act on their insights,” Dr. Kim said.

The Bank president said the Bank will be more focused on delivery of development solutions than ever before. “Most failures happen at delivery,” such as when heavy investments in primary education fail to ensure children are learning, said Dr. Kim.

“This is the next frontier for the World Bank Group – helping to advance a ‘science of delivery,’” he said. “Because we know that delivery isn’t easy – it’s not as simple as just saying ‘this works, this doesn’t.’ Effective delivery demands context-specific knowledge. It requires constant adjustments, a willingness to take smart risks, and a relentless focus on the details of implementation.”

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Submitted by Khaled Khan Shuvo on
Ending poverty in least developed and developing courtiers has always been a dream and challenge...Many times development models fail because of proper selection of projects,targeting needs...proper reporting and data analysis...Lack of any single entity will end possibilities into corruption...Sincere leadership and determination to fulfill objectives of development models are equally important...

Submitted by Anthony on
Two things are majorly responsible for poverty in developing countries. The first one is corruption and the other is ignorance or illiteracy. Corrupt leaders would do anything to prevent their people access to good education, knowing fully well that "education makes it easier to govern the people but makes it harder to enslave them" . So all investment aimed at good education would end up failing at delivery. I think the crusade against extreme poverty should start by enlighteening the people on the need to be educated. Get the acceptance of the people in developing world, make them understand the link between poverty and illiteracy and the way out. The avarage poor man needs the miracle of the mind. A transformation that would start from within. We must be ready to fight corruption. The will power and the determination must be very strong. We may never win the battle against extreme poverty if we fail to win the battle against corruption and greed.

Submitted by Anonymous on
I agree with Anthony and KHALED KHAN SHUVO above. Our poverty rate is not great in New Zealand either and in particular the building consent statistics are at an all time low, adding pressure to families, with regard to the employment of folks in those trades, and the rising rates to rent homes are causing overcrowding. These hands on tradespeople would want to be in work, but incomes are experiencing pay rates screwed down by Government appointed bodies. The folks making the money are the appointed companies & their top management staff. In Christchurch we have a crisis with rents rising and folks living in cars parked up everywhere. The Government has it's head in the sand. Corruption has to be eliminated... Ministry of Government has become involved in competing with Christchurch business and instead of the benefit going toward making more affordable housing it is going into the Government coffers. As in the Gibralta board companies were invited to submit tenders with their best price for the Earthquake work & to be the preferred supplier. How do we change such a culture? If it was a family we were talking about, we would say the people are modelling their Parents, therefore the parents are a bad example. We have an opportunity to design competition of an urban village on 1 hectare, a mixed model of social housing and normal housing which could educate & grow people to help themselves, with the principle of "teaching the man to fish" by example. The 1 hectare is probably very small, but the idea is that it can be replicated. As part of this an investor is required...Maybe the World bank? If so I would be interested to discuss this, as a sustainable development with Net Zero Energy building technologies, involving the people at grass roots so that they are learning as they go taking ownership for the environment.

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