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World Bank promises support to fragile and conflict-affected regions

By Julius Businge

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has said that he would direct more funding to fragile and conflict-affected states in a bid to fight poverty among the people, he said in a statement released on Oct. 1.

Extreme poverty was “the defining moral issue of our time,” and he described how a new World Bank Group strategy would realign the global institution to help end poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity.

Speaking at George Washington University on the eve of the World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings, Kim said the Bank must be bold and not be afraid to take “smart risks” to support projects that have the potential to transform a country or a region.

He said it is his hope to increase the share of IDA core financing – the Bank’s fund for the poorest – to fragile and conflict-affected states by about 50 percent in the next three years.

He also said that the IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm, also would increase funding by 50 percent over three years for low-income and fragile states.

The IFC increase could amount to more than an $800 million increase over three years; the IDA amount could not be determined until countries made pledges later in the year.

Kim said the new World Bank Group strategy – the first ever to bring together the entire organization, which includes the Bank, IFC, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, or MIGA, which provides political risk insurance — would work toward a common purpose.

“Our strategy also forces us to be selective – first, choosing our priorities and then, abandoning those activities that are not.”

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