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Annual Meetings: World Bank Group Strategy Approved; Gender Equality Agenda

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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde confer. © Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

The World Bank Group got the go-ahead on a new strategy aimed at repositioning itself to better tackle its two goals: ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. The strategy aims to more efficiently and effectively leverage finances, technology, and talent to provide customized development solutions for client countries. In a communiqué at the close of the Annual Meetings, the Development Committee said it “strongly endorsed” the plan. The committee said the Bank Group has an important role to play “in delivering global development results, supporting countries with their specific development challenges, and helping them eradicate poverty and build resilience to future financial, economic, social, and environmental challenges.”  Read the communiqué and article.

A new paper updated the Development Committee on the gender equality agenda at the World Bank Group. In the past year, all of the Bank’s country assistance strategies were “gender-informed,” and the total share of gender-informed lending rose from 83% to 98% between FY12 and FY13. This translates into a dollar figure of almost $31 billion, notes the paper.

2013 World Bank/IMF Annual MeetingsGender was the subject of two events on the final day of Annual Meetings, both featuring recent research. A joint World Bank-IMF session, Gender at Work: Barriers and Promising Approaches to Women's Economic Participation, indicated that progress on this front has fallen short. IMF Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy, and Review Kalpana Kochhar said her study, Women, Work and the Economy, found that women’s participation in the labor force has stagnated globally and that the regional per capita income losses due to gender gaps are as high as 27%. A World Bank study, Gender at Work, has found that gender gaps run very deep and social norms are a driving force constraining women’s choices, said the Bank’s Director of Gender and Development, Jeni Klugman. The panel also included Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, and was moderated by the Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte. Replay the webcast.

Empowering Women Through Evidence in Africa highlighted projects and programs that have had a significant positive influence on the lives of African women, reaching far beyond their original scope, particularly in the areas of education, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and employment. A panel including World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, economists, specialists and African ministers discussed the results of recent rigorous research that quantify gender challenges in Africa, solutions, and implications for policy. Replay the webcast.  Read the article.

Of Note

Myanmar and WBG Sign Electricity and Investment Guarantee Agreements
The government of Myanmar and the World Bank Group signed a $140 million credit agreement to support the installation of a modern, high-efficiency 106 mw electricity power plant in Mon State. This investment is part of Myanmar’s power expansion plan and the cornerstone of the World Bank Group’s support for Myanmar’s energy sector. The project, replacing aging gas turbines with new units and producing 250 percent more electricity with the same amount of gas, is the first step to bringing more and cleaner electricity to the people of Myanmar.

IFIs on Track to Deliver on Investments for Growth in Central and Southeastern Europe
The European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced they are well on their way to meeting targets for investment to stimulate economic growth in Central and Southeastern Europe. This is making a difference for entrepreneurs, exporters, and small- and medium-enterprises, and serves as a signal to financial markets that international financial institutions are leaning forward to help these countries face the challenges set off by the crisis.

International Community Rallying around the Four-Track Approach to Support Lebanon
International institutions, global partners and donors agreed to support Lebanon as it grapples with the impact of the Syrian conflict on its economy and social sectors.  According to a recently completed World Bank-led assessment, Lebanon faces billions of dollars in lost economic activity as a result of the crisis in Syria, and the massive influx of refugees is overwhelming public services and driving up unemployment and poverty rates.  


Donna Barne

Corporate Writer, World Bank

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