World Bank's focus on making projects "commercially viable" cannot come at expense of the poor
The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, gave a speech at the London School of Economics ahead of next week's Spring Meetings. In response, Nadia Daar, the head of Oxfam International's Washington office, said:
"We are pleased Kim reiterated the Bank's commitment to ending poverty through investing in people, and by responding to and preventing humanitarian crises such as the unprecedented threat of four famines."
Kim's speech focused heavily on how the Bank will leverage the private sector and adjust staff incentives accordingly.
"After years of internal and external pressure on the Bank to reform their staff incentives, it's a shame to hear the new changes will continue to be about money - this time leveraging it - rather than measuring how their projects improve people's lives," said Daar.
"Ultimately, the Bank must guarantee that in any dealings with the private sector, reducing poverty, protecting the environment, and helping communities will take priority over financial gain.
"We especially urge the Bank to tread carefully around certain sectors, like health and education, where research has clearly shown that their investments in commercial, private providers are likely to exclude poorest communities."
Oxfam International's executive director, Winnie Byanyima, and several policy experts covering fiscal and social issues will be in Washington during the week of the Spring Meetings and will be available for interviews.
Simon Hernandez-Arthur in Washington
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