Oxfam reactions to the opening remarks at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank

Published: 10th October 2013

Washington, DC— In reaction to the opening remarks delivered by World Bank President Jim Kim Oxfam’s head of Washington office, Nicolas Mombrial, made the following comments:

Ending extreme poverty

“The strategy to end extreme poverty and support inclusive growth is an important milestone for the World Bank and Oxfam welcomes Jim Kim’s vision and commitment. With more than a billion people around the world struggling to live on just a dollar and a quarter a day – including 400 million children – achieving the goal of extreme poverty by 2030 will not be easy, and everyone must do their part.”

Supporting fragile states

“Stepping up support for fragile states is crucial and very timely. The international community needs to step up to help the two million people who have fled Syria into neighboring countries and it is a welcome development that the Bank is ready to do so. Current funding appeals for the crisis are only 51% funded, and the World Bank can be part of filling this gap.”

Climate change

“We are pleased to see climate change being elevated in the Strategy, but we have yet to see if this is just a bunch of hot air. We need some clarity on what concrete steps the World Bank will take in order to fight climate change.”

Institutional efficiency

“While the World Bank is making efforts to increase efficiency within the institution, it is also time for donors to fulfill their obligations and prove their trust in the strategy by funding the International Development Association’s 17th Replenishment.”

Private sector

“It’s encouraging that President Kim confirmed that safeguards will not be diluted as the World Bank increases its partnerships with the private sector. One of the World Bank’s added value is leveraging private investment that achieves positive results for the poorest people by respecting social and environmental standards. Failure to respect such standards could have a disastrous impact on poor peoples lives, as it has in the past.”

“While President Kim has said that much more attention needs to be paid to whether growth reaches all people and not just the elite, monitoring income gains is simply not enough. The World Bank needs to tackle income gaps head-on so that inequality does not drive instability or breed conflict. We cannot end poverty without fighting inequality.”

In reaction to the comments made by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mombrial said:

IMF gold sales

“The announcement that the members of the IMF agreed to use new revenues from the sale of the IMF’s gold to increase assistance to developing country is great news, especially in these difficult financial times.”

IMF governance

“The confirmation by Director Lagarde that the reform of the IMF governance is still blocked by some countries is a shame, as it completely ignores the reality of the global new economy. For the IMF to remain credible it needs to be more representative. While some countries may be taking a breath, developing countries are waiting for their voices to be heard.”

“The IMF should learn from to the ruinous structural adjustment policies it imposed on Latin America, South-East Asia, and sub-Saharan African in the 1980s, and stop pushing even softer austerity policies. In a recent report, Oxfam warned that an additional 25 million people across Europe could face the prospect of living in poverty by 2025 if austerity measures continue. The IMF and governments in crisis should instead tax fairly, invest in people and public services, and choose a path of inclusive growth that delivers better outcomes for people, communities, and the environment.”

The strategy to end extreme poverty and support inclusive growth is an important milestone for the World Bank.

Notes to editors

Oxfam has a number of policy experts available during the Annual Meetings for interviews in English, French and Spanish. Interviews can also be arranged with Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima and Oxfam America president, Raymond C. Offenheiser.

Contact information

For more infromation, or to arrange interviews, please contact Laura Rusu LRUSU@oxfamamerica.org  +1 202 459 3739

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