World Bank, IMF call for inclusive growth, poverty reduction

Monday, April 23, 2012

Washington - The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have called for further efforts on inclusive growth and poverty reduction amid fragile global recovery.

"The global economic outlook remains challenging," the two Washington-based agencies said in a statement issued after a joint development committee meeting this weekend.

"Policy adjustments and improved economic activity have reduced the threat of a sharp global slowdown. Growth in emerging and developing economies continues to be relatively strong, but poor countries still need support. Implementing policies and structural reforms to promote poverty reduction and inclusive growth must continue."

It added the likely achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve global poverty by 2015 was welcome news, but the world should remain vigilant and continue to work with all stakeholders to advance the other MDGs.

The committee also called on the Bank to develop more innovative and stronger partnerships with middle-income countries.

"Providing knowledge and financing for global public goods will also remain a key," the document said.

"We welcome steps being taken by the IMF to implement the agreed funding package for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which should enable it to meet likely demand for the IMF's concessional support through 2014."

"Social protection makes sound development sense. Social safety nets bolstered poor people's resilience to the last financial crisis and are also an important component of longer-term poverty reduction when they are well-targeted, affordable, gender sensitive and sustainable," it said.

"At international meetings, we talk a lot about the global financial safety nets. We need to focus equal attention on the human safety nets," World Bank President Robert Zoellick told reporters after the committee meeting.

"As we know, there are dangers when institutions are too big to fail. But let's remember that beyond the talk of financial systems, of regulations, or of firewalls, it is people who are too important to fail," he said.

Zoellick said the Bank endeavoured to focus on clients and customise its approaches to better help clients, recognising the diversity of clients' needs.

"As an institution, it's important that we recognise that good intention is not efficient. So we have to be vigorously focusing on results. We also have to be accountable. And to be accountable, we have to be open," said Zoellick.

The development committee is a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank Group and the IMF for inter-governmental consensus-building on development issues.

Known formally as the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries, the committee was established in 1974.

The development committee meeting is part of the 2012 Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group. The Annual Meetings of the two organisations are scheduled for October in Japan.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said she aimed at achieving a set of goals at the upcoming Annual Meetings, including possibly completing the 2010 quota and governance reforms and replenishing the PRGT, the Fund's lending programme for low-income countries.