World Bank’s new president must act fast to protect poor countries from Europe's crisis

Incoming World Bank president Jim Yong Kim must step up efforts to assist developing countries threatened by the euro zone crisis fallout, international agency Oxfam said ahead of his first day on the job [Monday 2 July].

The Euro crisis is becoming a serious threat to developing countries already reeling from volatile food prices and aid cuts. Aid to developing countries fell by $3.4bn last year, the first drop in almost 15 years. Meanwhile, a hunger crisis in West and central Africa has reached a tipping point, with 1.5 million people in urgent need of help.

Oxfam Great Britain’s chief executive Barbara Stocking said: “Dr. Kim will have to take fast action to protect developing countries from Europe's debt crisis. The IMF is bailing out Europe; the World Bank needs to step in and shore up poor countries. The Bank has an obligation to urgently ratchet up efforts in countries that depleted their resources defending themselves during the last financial crisis.”

Fair access to land, good health and education are the basics that poor countries need to lift their citizens out of poverty. Dr Kim needs to lead a bold new approach at the World Bank, and commit to ensuring that within his first five year term:

  • 15 million more children in sub-Saharan Africa will go to school
  • 200 million more people will have access to free healthcare and medicines, and
  • None of the Bank's agricultural investments result in poor people being pushed off their land through "land grabs." 

Stocking said: "There are 67 million children locked out of the classroom; at least 800 million people who can't get to a nurse or doctor, and people worldwide who have been pushed off their land because of speculative land grabs. Under Dr Kim the World Bank must work with developing countries to halve the number of children out of school in Africa, the continent with the most out-of-school children; ensure free healthcare for 200 million more people, and guarantee that none of its investments result in land grabs."

"Europe's troubles are casting a dark cloud over what should be a bright future for developing and emerging economies. It's time for a bold new World Bank that acts in the interests of all its members, but especially those now most at risk."

Notes to editors

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Blog: So Jim Kim is the new World Bank president: what’s in his in-tray?

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