(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-10-09)
Zoellick, Robert B.
Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank, addressed the following issues: seeds of crisis; the changing context; responsible globalization; the current role of the World Bank Group; the role of the World Bank Group in a new post-crisis World; and the reform agenda. He pointed to four aspects of Group’s future role: development finance; delivering knowledge products; the global public goods agenda (such as climate change and communicable diseases); and unforeseen future crises. Reform efforts include: 1) improving development effectiveness with a focus on results, decentralization, gender, investment lending reform, and human resources; 2) promoting accountability and good governance, and 3) increasing cost efficiency. He noted the completion of recent enhancements to the voice and representation of developing and transition countries in the Bank Group. Bretton Woods is being overhauled before our eyes.
Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, makes the case for ending poverty in our lifetime, especially in Africa. There is an urgent need for action, because thousands of people living in extreme poverty, many of them children, die every day from preventable diseases. The call to end poverty reaches across generations, continents, and nationalities. It spans religions, gender, and politics. Wolfowitz claims that the world is at a turning point, with grounds for hope. The last few decades have witnessed dramatic improvement in the condition of the world's poorest people. He cites as key factors leadership and accountability, respect for women, civil society, the private sector, and legal empowerment of the poor. He concludes that in order to find solutions for alleviating poverty, the World Bank needs to strengthen its knowledge and expertise in such areas as education, health, infrastructure, energy and sustainable development, and agriculture. We must chart a course for a future in which today's poor become tomorrow's entrepreneurs.