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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-03-31) Zoellick, Robert B.Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank, recalled a moment in John Maynard Keynes life when he called for deeds that restore the public trust that governments are up to the challenge of the current crisis. What started in 2007 as a financial crisis quickly spiraled into an economic crisis, with estimates for 2009 for the first contraction of the global economy since World War II and the largest decline of trade in 80 years. Developing countries are being battered in successive waves as private capital flows slump sharply. These events could next become a social and human crisis, with political implications. Zoellick reviewed the difficulties for each region of the world. Unlike the 1930s, however, central banks have stepped in with creative solutions to keep credit flowing. But the challenge ahead requires a spirit of innovation backed by action. The World Bank Group’s Board is considering a new proposal: the launch of a $50 billion Global Trade Liquidity Program. Zoellick called for the member of the G-20 to make multilateralism work and to empower the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank Group to monitor national policies. Bringing sunlight to national decision-making would contribute to transparency, accountability, and consistency across national policies. It is time to institutionalize “early warning” systems to protect the poor from cuts in social programs during times of economic crisis. Modern multilateralism will require that rising economic powers have a larger say in how institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF are run.
Publication(World Bank, 1997-09-23) Wolfensohn, James D.This is the address to the Board of Governors, delivered by Mr. James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, in Hong Kong, China, on September 23, 1997. This year's core theme is the challenge of inclusion, bringing people into society who have never been part of it before, the main reason why the World Bank Group exists. On reviewing the state of development circa 1997: despite improved social indicators, the rapid rise in life expectancy levels, and freedom ascending, much still needs to be improved. In East Asia, inequities between rural, and urban areas, and between the skilled, and unskilled are becoming more widespread; in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the old, and unemployed are more vulnerable amidst the turbulence caused by the transition to market economies; in parts of Latin America, unequal access to education, and health care, and disparities in income hinder progress; and, in many of the poorest countries, population growth continues to run ahead of economic growth. Considering the challenge ahead, the message for countries is to educate "your" people; ensure their health; give them voice, and justice; strong financial systems; and, sound economic policies, recognizing the link between good economic performance, and open governance, to build the broad social consensus. The effectiveness of the development community lies in building inclusive partnerships, between the governments, and the people, involving bilateral, and multilateral assistance, as well as nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector, based on good policy environments, with a look at renewing strategies. The Bank's responsiveness to this challenge has been that of commitment to the quality of work; increased accountability to measure performance; and, improved dialogue with governments. Key strategic points of change are to mainstream social issues, increase capacity building, forge sustainable development in agriculture; promote private sector participation, and strengthen financial systems.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1980-09-30) McNamara, Robert S.In his final address to the Board of Directors, President Robert S. McNamara discusses the future role of the Bank during a time in which surging oil prices threaten critical development tasks. He examines four themes: the prospects for economic growth and social advance in oil-importing developing countries; a program of structural adjustment that developing countries, industrialized nations, and OPEC countries can take to maximize growth; the need to accelerate the attack on absolute poverty; and the role the World Bank ought to play in the decade ahead.