World Bank outlines “bold agenda” for ending extreme poverty in the Caribbean

The World Bank has outlined a “bold agenda” for ending poverty in the developing world, including the Caribbean.

“We are at an auspicious moment in history when the successes of past decades and an increasingly favorable economic outlook combine to give developing countries a chance - for the first time ever - to end extreme poverty within a generation,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

“Our duty now must be to ensure that these favorable circumstances are matched with deliberate decisions to realize this historic opportunity,” he said in a speech at Georgetown University.

Speaking in advance of the upcoming World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Kim observed that developing economies rebounded quickly from the crisis and are now in a “fundamentally sound position, thanks to greater macroeconomic stability, a stronger rule of law, and increased investments in human capital and infrastructure”.

He said productivity growth in the private sector, the source of 90 per cent of all jobs, is high.

Kim noted that the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to significantly reduce poverty had been achieved in 2010, five years ahead of time, after developing countries spent years investing in social safety nets and working hard to build the fiscal space and create the macroeconomic buffers to respond effectively if a crisis hit.

Noting that many global leaders have spoken about ending poverty, Kim said to realize this vision will take a commitment from the entire global development community that matches the scope of the challenge.

“Recently a number of courageous politicians have committed to ending poverty in their countries, including Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Joyce Banda in Malawi. Similarly, US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed the vision of ending extreme poverty globally. These bold calls demand action,” he said.

Kim pointed out that the date of 2030 is “highly ambitious,” adding that “to reach the 2030 goal, we must halve poverty once, then halve it again, and then nearly halve it a third time, all in less than one generation.”.

But he said to meet global challenges, fighting extreme poverty alone is not enough.